Talk about using mobile phones as a wallet have been abuzz online for the past month. While this technology has already been tried out on a small scale, it is now set to be rolled out on a much larger scale in the U.K.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is used to develop mobile wallet services. Both Google and mobile provider Orange have started using the technology in the past few weeks.
Thousands of retailers are now set to start trying out this new service and it is estimated that about 40,000 retailers will have embraced it by the end of this year.
Orange and Mastercard will jointly launch a new handset, which will have this NFC technology embedded in it. The launch is expected to occur between April and June. O2 and Visa are expected to follow with their own NFC enabled handset a little later.
In order to popularise this service, banks, retailers, handset manufacturers and mobile phone operators are investing huge amounts of money in the infrastructure required.
While this facility is sure to make shopping a lot more convenient, the security aspect of such a service should not be taken lightly. Edward Chandler of Mastercard has said that it is a very secure service. In fact, he claims that it is as secure as any credit or debit card can be.
On the other hand, Kieren Hines, a mobile phone analyst says, “There are a lot of things that need to be resolved in the industry about how this is going to be rolled out. In terms of security you’re almost certainly going to have to enter a pin when you make a transaction.”
Some people have expressed concerns about security measures that will be available in case of loss or theft of an NFC wallet enabled mobile phone. The answer to this is quite logical if one considers the fact that a regular wallet containing credit or debit cards and cash is just as likely to be stolen or misplaced, and hence users will need to be cautious to avoid such a thing from happening, whether it is a wallet or a mobile phone.
If anything, having a mobile wallet could eliminate the need to carry a separate wallet, which would reduce the chances of theft as the number of valuable items that any individual would need to take care of would be reduced.