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Swen van Klaarbergen

Mobile Payments Consultant

What impact do you believe NFC and/or BLE will have on the retail shopping experience?

The main impact of NFC and BLE on the complete shopping experience is that these technologies will further integrate the real, or analog, world with digital mobility. The retail experience will be increasingly information-rich, capable of inspiring consumers and helping them find products, compare prices and make payments seamlessly via their mobile devices. At UL, one of our main purposes is to make sure all of this will happen in a secure way.

What are the biggest barriers to widespread NFC and BLE adoption?

Currently, two of the biggest barriers for mass adoption of NFC and BLE are infrastructure and interoperability. To change the shopping experience on a national or international scale, it is imperative that consumers are able to use their digital payment as well as transit or loyalty cards anywhere and any time. The infrastructure is evolving to handle NFC or BLE payments, driven by issuers and merchants, while UL is focused on supporting interoperability, helping to make sure that digital cards can be securely used globally.

 

What are the most important security differences between
NFC and BLE payments?

As both NFC and BLE are just different transport layers (means of exchanging data between communicating applications), a lot of security aspects can be tweaked on an application level. However, at this time, NFC has an advantage in that secure payment standards are already established. Furthermore, the shorter range of NFC communications between a handset and a payment terminal makes it more difficult to spy on the transferred data. With BLE, much about actual shopping implementations is still unknown, which makes it more difficult to assess the effectiveness of potential security measures.

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