How Secure are Mobile Payments through NFC?

Gone are the days when your cell phone was a mere device used to make or receive phone calls. Times have changed. In this era of fierce competition, fast-commerce, and consumer-driven business models, the results in this new break-through technology that allows you to make your payments via”¦ none other than your cell phones. Welcome the era of Mobile Payments!

For novices, mobile payment is payment made through your smart phone using the smart NFC technology. These NFC Chips that are powered within your smart phone, store your financial account data. Thus by simply tapping your smart phone on the NFC reader at the payment counter your NFC Chip provisions access to your financial details and makes the desired payment allowable for transaction. The entire transaction details display on your cell phone in a transparent manner. However, the question that most commonly arises, is how secure are mobile payments? Let’s go deep to study the security this mode of transaction has to offer.

nfc payments

Mobile Payments Security

Remember, the risk of physical theft is always a “˜risk’ one undergoes. However, with the new Mobile Payment technology, and how it operates, your financial data or account is masked in 3 layers before it reaches the data is accessible on your smart phone.

Typical NFC Based Payment Process


Security Layer 1: Mobile Payment Wallets

Your first step for operating the mobile transaction is to setup your payment wallet online. This wallet contains the financial data or your credit card information that you store online and is accessible only through your PIN code and Password that you generate.

Security Layer 2: Trusted Service Manager (TSM)

The Trusted Service Manager (TSM) is a role that acts as a neutral broker and enables the communication between your mobile network operators, phone manufacturers or other entities controlling the secure element on mobile phones. However, remember, this is a background process that facilitates your mobile payment capability. The core function of TSM is to manage the process of acquiring your financial data and authorizing it for secure payment processing. This core component hence also monitors your financial accounts during the process of payments; and validates your acceptability for the retailer during transaction. So, once the TSM syncs through your mobile wallet and on to your NFC Chip on your phone, you are good to go.

Security Layer 3: Mobile Network

Remember, cellular networks are hard to crack. These are complex networks with real-time encryption facility that operate securely and effectively. Hence, for a hacker, to break through your mobile network is next to impossible, if I may be so bold to say.

Security Layer 4: NFC Chip

Once your wallet is synced with your TSM and your TSM coordinates with your Mobile Network, the fourth component that is used is your NFC Chip, through which your payments are provisioned. Remember, all data is transferred through encryption so the merchants cannot steal your data. Second, your NFC validates your identity through a Pin Code protection so only you have the key or password to your money. Moreover, the chip in your phone prevents accidental or intentional tampering and will deny unauthorized access.

NFC Positioning

The key here is that the NFC does not have access to any data on your phone. A hacker could hack your NFC chip password. But that is as far as the hacker could go. They would not be able to make any transactions as background security system must authorize transactions before they can be made.

So, are you still worried about the information stored on your phone may be stolen? You don’t need to fret at all! Moreover, this is an easy to use technology that is powerful and most secure. All the service providers are easy to understand, install and manage.