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Q&A: Security and rising mobile ecommerce

T.C. Seow | July 30, 2013
CIO Asia talked to Jarkko Sevanto, Head of Mobile, Visa APCEMEA, about security concerns in mobile commerce, in particular, with the widening adoption of the NFC standard among mobile devices.

Security is at the heart of everything we do at Visa. Our aim is to ensure frictionless commerce regardless of situation or device as part of our mission to be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere. In order to achieve this, we are working with all relevant stakeholders in the payments ecosystem and helping to develop global standards for electronic payments across all platforms.

We also have our own program, Visa Ready, in place to ensure that technology developers and manufacturers adhere to our own high standards of operations and security. Under this program, Visa has certified NFC-enabled smartphones from Samsung, LG Electronics, BlackBerry, Nokia and Intel for use with Visa's mobile payments application Visa payWave, enabling consumers to wave and pay at the point of sale. In addition, we are working with a number of mobile point of sale (mPOS) device manufacturers in order to enable merchants to accept electronic payments that they perhaps have not been able to previously.

Could you throw more light on what kinds of next-generation mobile payment solutions might appear soon?

Increasingly, online, mobile and face-to-face payments are converging as society becomes more connected via smartphones and other devices. For many people, the days of manually comparing prices in different retailers are over. They instead do their research online or via price comparison sites and in many cases follow that up with an online purchase. Payment solutions have to evolve with this trend and they are indeed doing so already. In developed markets, we're seeing the emergence of digital wallets. Visa's digital wallet,, is in the process of being rolled out and serves consumers by enabling people to transact seamlessly online. In the future, it will also allow them to transact in stores and pay for goods or services safely and securely via a digital platform.

In developing markets, using technology in innovative ways, such as mobile payments via feature phones or aid distribution through prepaid cards, is helping to bring people into the formal financial system as well as ensuring that they are receiving help in times of distress.

Financial institutions have always been very concerned about standards and transparency. Is there now a common standard to which payment processing centres, financial institutions and equipment manufacturers are held?

In terms of electronic payment security standards, Visa works closely with global body EMVCo to ensure that the highest possible standards are met around the world. As an example, equipment—such as card readers—is vetted for the highest standards and is not approved unless these are met.

Visa Ready is our program for ensuring that our partners adhere to the same strict standards that we hold ourselves accountable to. We work with device manufacturers to enable them to obtain Visa Ready status, as well as working with financial institutions with whom we are planning mobile payment programs, to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely provision payment account credentials to select mobile devices.


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