Using security protocols they have been developing for the last 12 years, a group of Oxford University academics are preparing to launch a mobile person-to-person payments app.
With £250,000 in funding, a university spin-out company, Oxcept, has been created, promising simple, secure ways of transferring information so that people can safely make payments from their handsets.
Using security protocols developed by a team led by Professor Bill Roscoe of Oxford University's department of computer science, the app will allow users to create a new secure network or to secure insecure ones.
Once both parties have downloaded the app the payer authenticates the payee and authorises a transaction. There is no swiping, scanning or card reading and no pass codes, account information or credit card details are disclosed.
Oxford says that the technology being used is patented and that the protocols have been tested by academics around the world and used by the Ministry of Defence.
Says Roscoe: 'These protocols resist many of the threats such as so-called 'man in the middle' attacks associated with online security solutions. We create security without having to rely on any pre-existing infrastructure such as a public key infrastructure, and we do it from the things human users know and trust."