First Data and Sprint join Mobile Payment Forum

Source: Mobile Payment Forum

The Mobile Payment Forum (MPF), a global cross-industry alliance of key organizations from the mobile and financial industries dedicated to the advancement of mobile (m) commerce, has elected Ms. Nandita Bakhshi of First Data Mobile Solutions, the mobile payments arm of First Data Corp, a leader in electronic commerce and payment services, and Mr. Christopher J. Bierbaum of Sprint to its Board of Directors at the group's Spring Member Plenary, held April 4-6 in Tokyo.

Board member companies appoint representatives who serve two-year terms.

First Data and Sprint join continuing Board members American Express Company; JCB Co., Ltd.; MasterCard International; Nokia; NTT DoCoMo; Orange World; TIM ITALIA SpA; T-Mobile International; Visa International and Vodafone. These organizations set the strategic direction for the Forum in its efforts to overcome barriers to the widespread adoption of m-payments and ensure that the needs of all key industry segments are addressed.

The Tokyo plenary also served as the Forum's opportunity to welcome representatives of the companies who have recently become Forum members: First Data and VeriSign, Inc., both at the Principal level. Any organization with an interest in facilitating secure m-commerce is welcome to join the MPF at the level of its choice, and participate in the Forum's work.

"With high-energy startup and ongoing activities in the area of proximity payment services, we are glad to welcome our new Board participants, to help provide strategic direction to the Forum in this exciting time," said Alessandra Dell'Otti, Steering Group Chair for the Mobile Payment Forum. "We encourage our new member companies to join wholeheartedly in these and our other activities and working groups, working toward the Forum's goal of addressing the challenges that inhibit widespread deployment of mobile payments, within a context of industry cooperation and open dialogue among key players."

In addition to the elections, the plenary program provided updates to the members on the status of the various activities underway within the Forum's working groups. Most dynamic is the Proximity Payment Activity, where the Mobile Payment Forum seeks to develop standardized components necessary to support secure payments when a mobile handset is used to complete a transaction with a merchant at a physical point-of-sale location, either attended or unattended. Toward this objective, the group has completed a Technology Survey and a Technology Assessment, and is currently developing an Issues and Recommendations document, which includes an overview of proximity payment use cases and an outline of the issues to be addressed for secure proximity payment transactions.

In a closely related initiative, the Forum launched a Usability Task Force in March. This group will produce a set of recommendations and requirements intended to improve the usability of m-payment technology, including proximity payment services. The Task Force will propose recommendations and requirements to ensure broad usability and consistency across m-payment scenarios. Technical and business issues that could improve usability will be evaluated based on their business impact and implementation challenge.

These proximity payment activities, in addition to the work already done by the Forum in the areas of two-way messaging, form-fill, and personalization of multi-application devices for mobile payment, further support the Forum's goal of standardizing the enabling technologies necessary for simple, secure, and convenient mobile payments.

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