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I was reading the investment news that VISA has a strategic investment in LoopPay.
LoopPay claims to have “invented Magnetic Secure Transmission™ (MST) technology which leverages existing point-of-sale infrastructure to receive contactless payments from mobile devices of all kinds with no hardware changes required by merchants”, information sourced from their website.

I found this an interesting investment from two perspectives:

  1. Here in Belgium, almost everything in terms of card is chip and pin, including our national ID card, bank cards, national insurance cards, etc. Loyalty cards are barcode, not magnetic strip. I rarely ever see a magnetic swipe option on a card reader, although I am sure they are still there, but I never look for them anymore. The pin for online payment is part of a larger process involving a digipass that generates a one-time code for authentication. So I want to hear more about the authentication and encryption processes on this one.
  2. At present, I would never pay using my mobile phone for anything. I do not trust 1) the phone, 2) the apps and 3) the network provider’s security. There is no encryption method obvious to me as a user to increase my trust, and the permission asked by most apps have turned me off from ever using them. What kind of trust mechanism(s) are they going to put in play to address this?

For me, my wallet is in my purse, and that is in a protected space in my office usually locked up. My phone, however, is in my pocket, on my desk, on a conference room table, etc. If I lose my wallet, I have the details stored elsewhere and a set of phone numbers to call to protect myself and my rights as a consumer. If I lose my phone, I can deactivate the SIM card via my mobile network provider. But I cannot wipe the contents of the phone remotely, just deactivate any privileges by changing passwords. I would have to make those calls again, assuming I have the written details backed-up somewhere. A bit of a process change for the consumer here….

I think part of this is cultural on how we use our mobile device here on the Continent, as well as what is accepted in the stores as a payment option. Our payment network is too ingrained in the consumer culture – alternative options face a steep learning curve. But I do wish them well to provide us options!

Would you want your wallet and your phone to be the same device? Which one is the worst one to lose for you right now? #justasking

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