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European Commission O2 Everything Everywhere

‘Mobile Wallet’ announcement from European Commission delayed for third time


By The Drum Team | Editorial

April 13, 2012 | 3 min read

The European Commission is delaying its announcement on the proposal by mobile operators to let mobile phones be used like credit cards.

The announcement, where the EC will decide to pass, reject or further scrutinise the plans, has already been delayed twice, and The Daily Telegraph has reported that sources believe it is likely to be subject to further scrutiny.

O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone had put forward the joint submission, saying the project would benefit the UK as a whole by providing a ‘credible alternative to the established online payments and advertising platforms’.

However, Russell Sheffield, director of innovation and development at mobile payments company paythru, told The Drum: “While many might view the European Commission’s decision over mobile payments negatively, it’s actually vital to make sure that mobile payments adhere to standards and are as secure as possible before any major launch.

“Consumers need to be assured that personal information like card details are safe and, while imposing PIN codes on transactions is a good start, storing information on the device itself means customer data is left open to criminals, if the device is lost or stolen. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has a long history of ensuring the financial security of payment systems and bringing similar best practices to the mobile industry could help mobile commerce to foster consumer trust.

“To add to this, while NFC does have many benefits, it actually has a number of limitations which ‘Project Oscar’ should be thinking about. Not only is it expensive to implement NFC terminals, but NFC-chips will also have to be developed for the devices themselves and what about the consumers that don’t have the latest smartphone devices? This narrow approach to mobile commerce is likely to hinder the widespread adoption of this technology.

“Mobile payments should allow customers to make secure, frictionless payments from any location and from any device so that they never have to see the back of a queue again. The goal is to appeal to consumers’ existing behaviour while keeping one step ahead of the fraudsters. Only then will mobile payments truly become commonplace so customers are no longer left reaching for their wallet.”

Mobile payment image via Shutterstock

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