Gemalto, Tapit use NFC platform to simplify mobile payments

Gemalto and Tapit have teamed up to enable consumers to leverage NFC technology to make 'frictionless' payments on their mobile phones, and have their transactions billed to their mobile phone.

Digital security firm Gemalto and Australian startup Tapit have partnered up to launch an NFC-enabled mobile payment platform aimed to simplify mobile transactions.

The platform, called Tapit and Buy, enables consumers to tap their smartphones against a Tapit-enabled poster or product packaging, before they are directed to an e-commerce site where they can carry out the purchase with a one-click confirmation. The transaction is then charged via the user's phone bill.

The platform leverages Gemalto's Netsize operator billing system, so that each transaction is relayed back to the operator's billing system.

When asked how the technology differs to similar technology that has been seen in the past, where purchases could be made off QR codes, Tapit CEO and co-founder Jamie Conyngham told ZDNet that Tapit and Buy uses NFC technology that has been designed to be "frictionless".

"It's a lot like how Amazon introduced its one-click ordering system," he said.

He added that the platform addresses a number of "friction points" that consumers often face when trying to make mobile purchases, including the need to search for products, open app stores, and provide credit card details at checkout.

While it is targeted for the mass market, Conyngham said it would also be an ideal platform for retailers looking to appeal to the impulse buyer.

"People are consuming more and more digital content, and are particularly buying on impulse digital content. For example, there could be Taste magazine poster, and I only want to buy just this month's version, so I'd be able to just tap and make that $3 impulse purchase," he said.

The collaboration will have an initial focus on the UK for transactions worth up to £30 for digital content such as e-publications, videos, music, and games.

Frédéric Deman, senior vice president of Netsize at Gemalto, assured that Gelmato's Netsize operator billing technology ensures that payments are "secure, seamless, and transparent for end users".

This assurance comes following leaked documents by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, revealing that US and UK spies had hacked Gemalto, the world's largest mobile SIM card manufacturer, and stolen encryption keys to eavesdrop on mobile phone conversations around the world.

Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone have confirmed they all use SIM cards in their mobile devices produced by Gemalto.

Following the claims, Gemalto opened up an investigation, and said it wasn't aware of the attack. The company also reassured that whether or not an attack occurred, its SIM cards are secure.

On the other end of the spectrum is Tapit, with the partnership with Gemalto marking another step in the company's efforts to grow its footprint. During September 2014, the company was busy expanding in the US market with the opening of its first international office in New York, and it secured a joint-venture deal with Chinese mobile commerce company 99 Wuxian Limited.

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