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Transcending mobile payments as we know it

September 18, 2014

Apps: Are They Secure?

Posted by Jagdish Vasishtha (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:17 AM

Mobile banking apps are also prone to hacking [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdO9CQqOuP8]

During my recent coast to coast sojourn in North America, during which I had the good fortune of meeting many of our customers, there was one theme that stood out in all discussions--security of mobile apps. The concern was more around B2C applications, given the increasing penetration of the Android operating system. With its open model and multiple OS versions, Android, in recent times, has shown increasing vulnerability to malware, Trojans, etc. Even iOS is not completely free from these vulnerabilities, although the perception is that a highly controlled and closed ecosystem makes it less susceptible.

Take for instance, the recent hacking of the mobile app of a leading coffee retailer, where it was discovered that the user IDs and passwords were stored in a flat file. The CIO of the company commented that even if someone accesses the app login credential the only thing the person could do is buy coffee. I think this ignores a very important fact--that people may use that very same user ID and password on multiple sites. Keeping the login sequence on a mobile app simple has been the prevailing paradigm so far, in order to not compromise with user experience and increase the app adoption.

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September 16, 2014

The Resilience of the Brick

Posted by Dinesh Bajaj (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:18 AM

Brick-and-mortar stores versus online competition  [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt8HuKCP1VY]

There's an empty Big Box store near where I live that used to be bustling with activity. It was a Border's bookstore that had a gourmet coffee shop right in the store. Every weekend a classical string quartet would perform in the main gallery while shoppers perused the latest titles. Everything about the shopping experience was upscale and delightful.

Yet now that store site sits barren ... a reminder of the potent and powerful online retailing revolution.

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September 12, 2014

How Will Apple Pay Change Mobile Payments?

Posted by Narayan Sivaram (View Profile | View All Posts) at 11:58 AM

Apple Pay is here to transform mobile payments [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om-YRgPtdZw]

So the much anticipated Apple's take on Mobile Payments, Apple Pay, has finally arrived like a superstar on stage. It has taken the payment industry by storm through a cameo appearance alongside an impressive array of unveilings. According to Apple, it is as momentous as the Mac or iPod or iPhone launch from years past. With more than 800 million iTunes accounts, it has always been source of endless 'what-ifs' for the payments industry buffs. So we now have more clarity on Apple Pay to ruminate and to prognosticate.

Speaking of what we know, Apple Pay uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to complete payments with a wave. Also in the package, an inventive approach that doesn't require card information on the mobile device instead a digital token is stored. Even if the mobile phone is stolen, the card details are safe. The digital token resides on a secure element on the mobile device. This is clearly Apple doing what it does best. Other 'wallets' experiments have been listless at best. Among the many difficulties there was this pesky question of who controls the secure element - the carriers or the payment networks or the wallet provider. Well, not for Apple. They make the device and they control it.

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