Friday, January 18, 2008

Now Just Swipe Your Mobile - atom "the" new way to pay

Future is mobile and Atom has just made it easier.

Mumbai, India, based technology company Atom technologies has come up with a new Mobile Payment option which is just similar to paying by your credit card, however, it doesn't involve a plastic card. So next time instead of swiping a credit card you might just hear "swipe your mobile". With atom "the" new way of payment, you are set to see the rise in M-Commerce and electronic transactions getting boosted and its bound to bring more secured, convinient transactions to its customers.

So how does this work?

There are two ways how this thing works.

Method 1 - Optical reading -You get something called Atom Card, which with the help of software will store the Credit Card information in a 2D barcode format and can be read by a simple webcam. This is a convinient method and something very similar to swiping your credit card. This would work more in cases of retail outlets, where there is an optical reader and you can show your mobile to the reader and authorize a payment. However, there is another method where you dont even need to show your mobile.

Method 2 - Wireless Transfer - In this you would need a JAVA MIDP 2.0 based mobile phone. You need a GPRS connection and a small software which will run on your mobile. So the next time you are in a shopping mall buying a favourite suit or dining in your favourite restaurant with your family you would have to just provide your mobile number and you would recieve a sales payment request on your mobile which you can authorize from any of your bank account which is confiured on your mobile and enter your PIN and authorize the payment.

How Secure is it?

Usage of PIN number makes the entire process secure, in case of loss of mobile phone, no body can use your mobile to make any purchases as its PIN protected.
Though, one question which any average user would ask is how secure is this transaction going to be. In case, someone infects the fone via some trojan/virus which captures the PIN number and sends it to someone else, you are exposed to the world. So the step of introducing mobile payments etc. should also be coupled with Mobile Phone security options. Also, I would reccommend ATOM to tie up with Mobile Antivirus providers or may be come up with some protection suite themselves to secure the mobile phones.

In 3 simple steps the process is going to be like this:

  1. Merchant sends payment request
    o So lets say I am enjoying my dinner at Punjabi By Nature, restaurant, after finishing my lavish dinner, I ask for the bill and the attendant brings a paper to me and I write my mobile number on it. Then the person managing this enters his customer ID and amount and enters ATOM PIN and sends this payment request to me.
  2. Customer confirms the payment
    o While I am sitting and talking to my friends and I get a message on my mobile to authorize a payment request. I choose which bank or credit / debit account I want to pay from and then I enter my PIN number and make the payment. Yes, that’s it, it’s Done.
  3. Payment receipts
    o Now both the merchant and the customer get a confirmation message saying that payment is authorized and transaction is complete.
Interesting applications of this technology in various industry sectors...I will be discussing these in details in my next post.

Everyday, when I see Google Alerts on what's new in Mobile Technology, I see my belief in Mobile technology and advancement getting much stronger, day after day. And with this tiny little thing that people hold in there hands everyday and take along with them almost everywhere they go (oh I heard people take their mobiles even to rest rooms) you can pretty much think of marketing them even in those moments.

Even though the Telecom Operators like Bharti, RCom, Vodafone would be interested in providing such mobile commerce solutions, however, RBI hasn't yet approved the same. So you might see certain delay in this to become reality for you.

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