Thursday, 03 February 2011

O2 Files for E-Money Licence

O2 will apply for an e-money licence this year, signalling its commitment to support contactless payments in the UK in the near future.

Speaking to the Computer Weekly, James Le Brocq, managing director of financial services at O2, said the company will be making some significant announcements by the end of 2011 as part of its vision for bringing customers' wallets together with their mobile phones through contactless technology.

He added that O2 will be making its application for an e-money licence from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) this year so that it can hold money from customers and facilitate transactions. The licence will also provide capability to launch and run financial services in the company's own right without a retail banking partner.

MTA to Launch New Contactless Transit System

New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is ready to start building its contactless fare payment system after nearly 4 years of testing, according to Digital Transactions News.

MTA officials have said to finalise a broad outline of the system and will soon receive formal proposals from vendors to begin working on a detailed design, which will see an end to the 15 year-old magnetic stripe MetroCard.

According to DTN, the system will be based on ISO 1443 compliant contactless credit, debit and prepaid cards, in addition to contactless fobs and NFC-sticker handsets.

The MTA expects the new interoperable system will reduce its collection costs and make it easier for riders to seamlessly switch from one mode of public transit to the other, including the subway, buses, the Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad.

Planners have also thrown E-ZPass into the mix, which would allow drivers to make cashless toll-highway payments, says DTN. However, MTA has said nothing on the budget for the new system.

HID Global Simplifies China Unicom's SIM Card Issuance Process

China Unicom has installed HID Global's OMNIKEY 1021 desktop smart card readers at its stores in more than 20 provinces and cities across the country.

By incorporating OMNIKEY 1021 readers in its business operating system to read/write SIM cards, China Unicom has greatly simplified the SIM card issuance process and improved the efficiency of frontline customer service staff. The readers have also eliminated mobile number configuration and hence reduced SIM card inventory levels. Popular applications can be embedded into SIM cards during card issuance, further enhancing customer satisfaction.

HID Global has already delivered 80,000 OMNIKEY 1021 desktop smart card reader units to China Unicom. With the new smart card reader, the customer service staff can personalise a blank SIM card with a mobile number and other optional services on the spot. By eliminating mobile number configuration on SIM cards, it is hoped that the total SIM card orders across China will decrease by 8 to 10 million per quarter.

Visa Europe and Monitise Sign Partnership Agreement to Develop Mobile Payment Services

Visa Europe has signed a partnership agreement with Monitise plc to develop and supply mobile payments services for Visa Europe's member banks and financial institutions across Europe.

Following Visa Europe's six year build and Half a Billion-Euro investment in a new European inter-bank processing service, this agreement will leverage this platform and accelerate the development and commercialisation of large scale mobile payments and services.

The exclusive partnership gives Visa Europe a licence to Monitise's world-leading mobile technology. Monitise will act as an advanced development engine for Visa Europe, enabling it to provide its member banks with a rapid go to market mobile payments service in Europe. Initially this will include the development of Visa Europe's mobile platform for mobile contactless payments, mobile alerts and person to person payments together with account management, loyalty applications and mobile e-commerce.

Alastair Lukies, Chief Executive of Monitise plc, said: "This deal is a major step forward in Monitise's relationship with Visa Europe. Mobile banking and payments users with smartphones check their accounts on average 16-18 times a month, three times more than via internet banking. We are honoured by this exclusive partnership with Visa Europe, which will help consumers benefit from growing mobile money innovation."

Latest NHS Laptop Loss Highlights Need to Protect Data on Portable Elements of Integrated IT Systems

Reports that Huddersfield health officials have launched a high-level enquiry after a laptop containing 1,500 patient records was stolen, has been met with incredulity by Credant Technologies.

According to Sean Glynn, the endpoint data protection specialist's vice president, unlike most NHS laptop thefts, the notebook was not used as a portable and/or standalone device, but apparently formed an integral part of Calderdale Royal Hospital's electromyography scanning system.

"This probably means that the health trust didn't apply its usual risk management procedures to the device, since it ostensibly formed part of the EMG patient scanning system.

And, he went on to say, since the EMG scanner was located in a public place, namely a hospital, with members of the public wandering in and out, the laptop should have been both physically and electronically secured, to prevent theft.

"It's no wonder that the local press in Huddersfield is reporting that the health trust has launched a full investigation. This wasn't a routine case of a laptop being stolen due to a member of staff's carelessness," he said.

"Managers should have performed a full risk analysis, and defended both the scanner's portable component - in this case a valuable laptop - and even more importantly, the confidential patient data it contained. This is a serious lapse of NHS security policies," he added

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