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Bell ID launches secure element in the cloud for mobile NFC

05 June 2013  |  9871 views  |  5 NFC

Dutch vendor Bell ID has launched a cloud-based secure element for the provisioning of mobile NFC services, eliminating the need for hardware within the handset.

Mobile NFC payment services have traditionally relied on a physical secure element (SE) provided by a handset manufacturer or network operator, requiring firms to strike deals with various partners, fostering fragmentation and slowing adoption of the technology.

The Bell ID software means that when a transaction is made, the customer's NFC credential is accessed from the cloud and the appropriate command is generated and sent back through the mobile to the contactless payment terminal.

The data is presented in the same format as that used in standard card-present transactions and the system can also pre-authorise payments, allowing people to make transactions even when a connection to the server cannot be established.

David Orme, CEO, Bell ID, says: "By moving the SE from a physical device to a remote environment, application issuers are able to directly provision their applications to an SE. This enables them to take full control of their relationship with the customer and ensure a consistent brand and user experience across all available channels and services."

Earlier this year, Spain's Bankinter opted to circumvent the physical element, citing the freedom that a remote option gives it.

Speaking at EBAday recently, Sirpa Nordlund, executive director of the Mobey Forum predicted that this could be the beginning of a trend and we could now see a significant move from the chip, which she describes as 80s technology, to a software-based system that means NFC might finally take off.

Mobile money, in all its forms, will be on the agenda when financial services professionals from around Europe gather in Barcelona on Tuesday for MobeyDay, organised by the Mobey Forum and Finextra.

KeywordsEFTPOS

Comments: (5)

Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 05 June, 2013, 11:00

Why do you need secure element or NFC for that?! It's a similar principle to the one used by the like of Barclays Pingit, based on mobile "fingerprinting". It works with any phone, and there is no secure element involved, neither on the phone nor in the cloud.

I.e. either you can positively ID the mobile phone or you cannot. If you can, no NFC or "SE in the cloud" is needed...

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 05 June, 2013, 12:38

@Alexander, The beauty of the concept and our system is that merchants will not have to replace their EMV acceptance infrastructure and systems, which has been a huge investment over the past years.

It really brings together the benefit of the interactivity and connectivity of a smart phone and the security and leverage of existing EMV technology. Newer phones carry the NFC capability; with our solution, each and every bank can use this to continue to have their customers securely do a 'card present' transaction without having to rely on any other 3rd party.

 

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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 05 June, 2013, 13:04

Andre, how is that different from placing TSM's RFID sticker on *any* phone and linking it to a multi-issuer cloud wallet? That way you have consumer-side SE.

As for "card present", I am not sure the proposed scenarion is within the EMV rules. Can you positively ID each phone without a secure element? If you can, why do you need SE at all in that case - just emulate EMV in the cloud (with the issuer's consent).

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 06 June, 2013, 19:23

Hi Alexander, we'll get in touch with you to provide more information.

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Malcolm Reay
Malcolm Reay - Thales e-Security - Cambridge | 17 June, 2013, 14:10

Andre, I think Alexander has some good points. My understanding of a SE is that it in the posession of the 'cardholder' albeit within thier mobile device, so I would be interrested in seeing your further information. Thanks

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