The Security Pyramid: Building a Base for Global NFC Adoption

Last updated: 21 October 2014

Having completed more than 50 major commercial NFC projects worldwide, it has been exciting to see the number of conversations happening around NFC over the past few months. While we’ve been a part of a dramatic increase in the use of mobile devices for payments across the globe in recent years, consumers are beginning to recognise how mobile payments can revolutionise the way they pay, spurred most recently, by Apple and the introduction of ApplePay.

Even before Apple jumped on board with NFC, however, it was predicted that the number of NFC-enabled devices in use would exceed 500 million in 2014. By 2018, it’s expected that 2 in 3 smartphones will be NFC-enabled. With markets around the world poised for widespread NFC adoption, it is important for businesses to remember the integral role that security plays in this innovation. Security is quickly becoming a key concern in the boardroom. A recent survey found that 52 percent of IT decision makers had even delayed or cancelled a new application, service or other initiative due to security fears. For instance, Commonwealth Bank recently announced it was delaying the release of its Android-based EFTPOS terminal “Albert”, explaining that security is “absolutely paramount” when introducing a merchant payment device to market.

Trust is a critical part of security and therefore, a key component in the widespread adoption of mobile payment technology. Consumers must have the assurance that the technology is not only convenient but also that their credit card information or banking details are protected. To create a secure environment for mobile payments, it may be helpful to imagine security as a pyramid, with a solid base providing the foundation and additional layers sitting above it. A Secure Element, such as our UpTeq NFC SIM should serve as the foundation. Secure Elements act as a secure and scalable multi-applicative solution to enable the widespread adoption of NFC services. Additional security features, such as PIN protections, remote deactivation of mobile wallets and limits on how long wallet applications can remain open, further increase consumer confidence without sacrificing convenience.

Payment innovation is not linear and there will always be new technologies and use-cases developing simultaneously. This creates an exciting but also challenging environment for businesses looking to create a simple, cost-effective, and secure solution. Fortunately, businesses can now take advantage of services that offer a one-stop, single connection to securely deploy mobile payment services across different smartphones and mobile networks. For example, the Allynis Trusted Services Hub eliminates the need for multiple individual contracts between service providers and mobile security enablers and offers a more ‘future-proof’ NFC solution. By matching the needs of service providers with mobile operators, we are creating opportunities for more streamlined, integrated NFC offerings, brought to market as quickly and securely as possible.