IBM aims to enhance mobile payment security with an NFC card

IBM NFCIncreasingly, new technological developments show a shift towards the Bluetooth camp. And now IBM is introducing a new concept that uses NFC to enhance the security of personal data during mobile payment transactions. Should we be surprised by this move or actually consider it a logical development?

We see this trend occurring time and again when we look at the security of browser-based data exchange. Banks as well as large companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook opt for two-factor authentication, in which your identity is also verified through your mobile phone.

But what if the authentication, information exchange and bank payment takes place entirely via your mobile phone? This is far from an improbable scenario in the current landscape. In that case, your mobile will no longer be the second factor in the security process.

For this reason, IBM is betting on NFC by introducing a special bank card equipped with a security chip. If you want to log in to a website that uses two-factor authentication or need to perform a bank payment, you will be prompted to hold your bank pass against your smartphone. Thus, your transaction will be secured on the basis of a user name and password as well as a second, physical check.

Integrating NCF support in bank cards to enhance the security of mobile payment traffic is obviously not a bad idea, but you will have double the trouble if someone manages to steal both your mobile phone and bank card.

The main snag, however, is Bluetooth. Apple has made it abundantly clear that it does not see any benefits in enabling its hardware with NFC, which means the technology is completely absent in iPhones and iPads.

The bad news for this initiative by IBM is that an increasing number of manufacturers are following the example of Cupertino. Although NFC is still frequently offered in combination with a Bluetooth connection, we can hardly deny Bluetooth’s revival.