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January 20, 2017

Cashless Transactions – what’s the danger?

With digital payments and cashless transactions making headlines in India, there also concerns over Android app security testing given the nations reliance on the Android devices and Android platform. In spite of the convenience and the move to a digital economy, there are concerns about the security of these transactions, and the problems of maintain ing a secure infrastructure with just passwords and PINs.

Ashok Chandak, a Senior Director for NXP Semiconductors said as he spoke to Mobile India 2017, “Now people have started asking questions for better experience and convenience as well as managing those security aspects. Technology alone is not enough — a secure ecosystem is very important.”

Chandak also said that only time will tell  if the claims made by Mobile wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik and FreeCharge to provide complete Android app security will be fulfilled or not, and could only be decided after seeing how these respond to a malware attack.

As of now, mobile wallets seem to follow Android app security guidelines and are considered secure due to the relatively small transaction size. For transactions with larger value in the future, the wallet that successfully prioritizes Android app security and builds security into the app system will be ahead of the game. In a similar context, Paytm introduced its “App Password Feature” on its Android app allows a user to set up a password, pattern, PIN, or biometric data to open the application. This ensures that money stored in the wallet is safe even in case of an owner’s phone being misplaced or lost.

Mr. Ashok also explained the Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows data to be exchanged within a distance of 4 centimeters. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, by 2020 the NFC market will reach $21.84 billion. Ashok said that NFC holds critical importance for mobile payments and the question is yet to be answered whether it will suit the requirements of cashless transactions in India as well or not.

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