ISIS Mobile Payment and NFC Secured Mode
“What is ISIS? How does it work?” After my blog: Isis Mobile Payments Bring Businesses Closer To Customers was posted, I got a few inquiries about how Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment works.
Here is simplified story about NFC technology: NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that is built upon Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. It is often referred to as a contactless card technology. An NFC enabled phone has an NFC chip with NFC antenna for radio communication within a distance of 0.4 cm. You can use the phone to share data with another NFC enabled phone, which is referred to as peer to peer mode. You can also write data onto NFC tags and allow NFC enabled phones to download the data; this is called read and write mode. These modes are referred to as NFC open mode; however, it is not a secured means of communication.
NFC does also have a secured mode which is called the card emulate mode. This secured mode runs on a SIM card with a Secure Element (SE). The Secure Element is a secure microprocessor that includes a cryptographic processor to facilitate transaction authentication and security. ISIS mobile payment runs on AT&T NFC secured mode. Consumer’s credentials and data are securely stored in the Secure Element. Before anyone can use ISIS mobile payment, he/she needs to go to an AT&T store to acquire a SIM card with SE.
Aside from using Secure Element, NFC secure mode also leverages Trusted Service Manager (TSM) to provision and manage secured mobile NFC services. The TSM is the contact point that links mobile network operators, service providers and NFC Mobile phones. It provides the functionality of remote multi-application management. Global Platform has published specifications on Secure Element management and messaging so that industry has a standard to follow.
When consumers find out how much easier an NFC phone can make their lives, they will demand apps both on open mode and secure mode. NFC ecosystem needs to be in place to accommodate such demands.
Are you interested in NFC technology? What is your take on it?