Regulatory incoherence could stifle development of NFC - Acma

Regulatory incoherence could stifle development of NFC - Acma

Australia's communications and media watchdog is warning that regulatory incoherence could stunt the growth of NFC-based mobile payments in the country.

In a discussion paper, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) warns that the emergence of NFC challenges current regulatory structures by driving convergence between financial services and telecommunications and cutting across a host of discrete industry watchdogs.

"Mobile devices equipped with NFC are a key technology enabler to the development of electronic mobile payments and many other apps," states the paper. "Fragmented regulation of NFC risks creating costs to industry and confusion for consumers."

By 2014 there will be an estimated 285 million plus NFC-enabled handsets in use in the world. With more than 70% of all Australians now using a smartphone, Australia is in a strong position for NFC transactions to grow.

Says Acma chairman, Chris Chapman: "As NFC-enabled transactions enter the mainstream, we believe that consumers using NFC and related apps would best be protected by a single coherent regulatory framework."

The paper concludes that that a mix of strategies will likely be needed to address issues in NFC's complex supply chain: "Direct regulation may continue to be needed for some matters, but it is increasingly likely that co- and self-regulatory arrangements and communication programmes will offer more flexible responses to addressing issues of concern in a dynamic and developing market."

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