ISIS Mobile Payment and NFC Secure Element

“What enables me to use ISIS Mobile Payment? How does it work?” After my blog: Isis Mobile Payments Bring Businesses Closer To Customers was posted, I got a few inquiries about how Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment works.

NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that is built upon Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. It is often referred to as a contactless card technology. An NFC-enabled phone has an NFC chip with NFC antenna for radio communication within a distance of 0.4 cm.

Secured or Unsecured?

Open mode:

You can use an NFC-enabled phone to share data with another NFC-enabled phone, which is referred to as peer-to-peer mode. You can also write data onto NFC tags and allow NFC-enabled phones to download the data. This is called read-and-write mode.  These modes are referred to as NFC open mode; however, it is not a secured means of communication.

Secure mode:

For those interested in making ISIS mobile payments, NFC also has a secured mode, which is called the card-emulate mode. It supports secured apps — for example, ISIS Mobile Payment. What makes it secure is the extra component stored in the SIM card. The component is called Secure Element (SE). The Secure Element is a secure microprocessor that includes a cryptographic processor to facilitate transaction authentication and security.

Why ISIS Mobile Payment is the secure option – Secure Element

ISIS mobile payment runs on AT&T NFC secured mode. Consumers’ credentials and data are securely stored in the Secure Element. There are different technologies of using Secure Element for mobile payment.  Also, Secure Element can be placed in different locations and comes in various forms — for example, SWP-SIM cards versus embedded chips, MicroSD, and NFC stickers. Therefore, there are different business models and infrastructure to support the diversified choices. In order to use ISIS mobile payment, you must acquire a SIM card with Secure Element for your NFC phones.

The NFC emerging market – Ripe for apps

When consumers find out how much easier an NFC phone can make their lives, they will demand apps both on open mode and secure mode. The NFC ecosystem needs to be in place to accommodate such demands. So far, the market is emerging but not driving the user experience broadly enough to make an impact on people’s lives. But innovation is coming and it will be exciting to see what comes next.

Are you interested in or using NFC technology? What has your experience been?
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