With news of Google Wallet not being as safe as it should have been, many consumers are expressing concern over adopting mobile commerce. While telecommunications and technology companies are quick to assure consumers that mobile payment applications will be safe in the future, financial institutions are taking these concerns quite seriously. Many credit companies are working to move away from traditional magnetic strips for their payment cards. In an attempt to modernize commerce, these institutions are beginning to adopt NFC technology. They are also looking to researchers from the Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to help solve the security issues inherent with mobile payments.
Researchers are working on a new technology that is, essentially, an on-off switch for credit cards. The cards will be equipped with a simple electric circuit. When consumers hold their finger over a specific spot on the card, such as the logo, they complete the circuit, allowing NFC terminals to interact with the card. Once the circuit is complete, consumers can use their card to make purchases. By default, the card will be off at all times.
Researchers have presented a simple solution to what seems to be a complicated problem. They claim that this technology would be much more secure than the security technologies found in most mobile payment applications available today. Given the strict regulations that financial institutions must adhere to, they may be unlikely to continue allowing telecommunications and technology companies gamble with the safety of people’s financial information.