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Payfone exec highlights SIM advantages over fingerprint authentication

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ – A Payfone executive at the Mobile Shopping Fall Summit said that despite all of the marketing interest around mobile fingerprint authentication, the technology is not revocable, posing serious security risks.

According to the session, the SIM – or Subscriber Identity Module – helps speed up the checkout process and also keeps a consumer’s account verified. With the growing number of payment options available to marketers, it is increasingly becoming more important for a standard type of service to take shape for mobile commerce adoption to grow.

“What’s really unique about this kind of authentication, unlike how everyone’s talking about fingerprints and biometrics, there’s not revocable,” said Kristin McClement, vice president of product at Payfone, New York.

“Once someone has your fingerprint, you can’t take it back,” she said.

“The difference is with a SIM card [and] your phone, if you lose it, the first thing you do is frantically try to find it, and then you call your carrier to lock it and it’s suspended and go get another one. It’s revocable, which is a really unique characteristic of verification, that’s very very important.”

Mobile verification
The session also presented a look at a case study from Payfone and American Express Serve with a mobile app for Verizon usersTo streamline the checkout process, Payfone pulls the name, address and information from a consumer’s subscriber information.

As a result of using the streamlined payments, American Express reduced the time to complete a registration by 440 percent.

“It eliminates the data entry and reduces the time by over 400 percent to pre-verrify an address that you’ve gone through with Verizon,” Ms. McClement said.

There are 148,000 computers that are hacked and since 2005, there are more than 500 million people that have had their identities victimized, per Ms. McClement.

This is estimated at costing businesses $200 million.

At the same time, passwords and authentication are also making consumers increasingly more frustrated when using multiple log-ins and password information, which is not helping brands in building trust with consumers around mobile payments.

The root of the problem dates back to the fact that the Internet was not created to protect identity at its core. On the other hand, the Payfone exec cited the mobile operators as putting identity at the core of their networks.

Since the SIM is how users are authenticated every time a mobile phone is turned on, the security part of verifying an identity is frictionless.

For example, the technology does not require consumers to download an application and is therefore a bit more transparent.

The technology has also been around for roughly 30 years and under rides $1 trillion worth of transactions.

However, there is not a standard for carriers to use.

Payfone claims that its service is enabled for more than 200 million United States consumers, and the SIM can be ported from new devices.

Native language
Matt DeLoca, vice president of sales at Smartling, New York, also presented a session about the importance of optimizing mobile content for native languages.

When it comes to countries that marketers should prioritize when creating localized content, Asia should be a big priority.

A study conducted by Distimo two years ago looked at 200 different iPhone applications uploaded that were never translated shows the impact translations can have on mobile performance.

When the apps were translated, the downloads increased 128 percent and the revenue from the apps increased 26 percent per language that was deployed.

“The message for today is that communicating with someone in their native language is always more effective,” Mr. DeLoca said.

“When you’re trying to convince them of an opinion, when you’re trying to convince them about a political view, or you’re trying to sell a new product, you want to communicate with them in their native language,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York