Five of the world's leading technology firms - HP, Lucent, Oracle, Siemens and Sun - have banded together to develop a set of standard interfaces for consumer mobile payments. The consortium is the latest in a slew of vested interest groups tackling the problem of wireless payments, and will operate in a similar space to the card associations' Mobile Payments Forum and the bank-backed Mobey Forum.
The new grouping - known as PayCircle - has been established to take forward the work of Paymentgroup, an initiative formed in 2001 by Siemens and HP to develop an open standard for mobile service payments and a uniform application programming interface (API) for mobile payment systems.
PayCircle says its mandate will be to provide mobile device users worldwide with a standard means of making mobile payments, regardless of the payment systems used by merchants or service providers. The initiative intends to define open and uniform interfaces between competing schemes based on existing standards. As a result, mobile device users will be able to access their network operators' or payment service providers' mobile commerce offerings without having to install any new software.
For application providers, network providers and payment service providers who offer processing of prepaid, postpaid monthly phone bills or credit card wireless payments, common interfaces will eliminate obstacles presented by proprietary and incompatible systems, enabling products to be brought to market in a much quicker timeframe, say the founding partners.
Security will be maintained by using built-in security mechanisms, such as SIM cards, for authentication, say the companies.
Membership of the non-profit organisation is open to anyone actively involved in the mobile payment market, such as application developers, payment service providers, merchants, content providers, manufacturers of payment systems, suppliers for mobile infrastructure and mobile devices, network operators, banks and credit card companies.