Guidelines To Halt Mobile Phone Crime

Action to prevent criminals abusing new mobile phone technology, which allows them to be used like debit, credit and pre-pay cards, has been agreed by the Government, mobile phone and card payments industries, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced today.

The new technology, which will allow customers to buy things by swiping them over sensors in a similar way to Oyster cards, is being trialled by phone companies and banks in the UK.

In an effort to design out opportunities for crime and reduce harm to consumers the government has been working with industry to ensure the technology builds in tough security measures at the earliest stages.

Working with the government the mobile phone and banking industry have agreed to a set of guidelines. They have committed to ensuring consumers are not put at an increased risk due to the development of this technology, especially young people who are often the earliest adopters of technology and suffer from disproportionate risk.

The guidelines include ensuring contactless payment functions, SIM cards and phones will be disabled as soon as possible once a contactless payment mobile phone is reported lost or stolen.

Any transactions above the maximum contactless payment value (currently £10) will require verification, such as a pin code, similar to the current guidelines that underpin existing contactless card payment schemes. Additional security such as a pin code will also be required if more than a certain number of low-value transactions are carried out consecutively.

Any customer who signs up for a contactless payment phone will be encouraged to add their details on the National Mobile Phone Register to make it easier for stolen phones to be identified and recovered.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: "This technology is an exciting new development but we must continue to work together to reduce any new opportunities for criminals to profit from mobile theft. As new technologies like this develop we aim to consider where safeguards can be incorporated at the drawing board stage."

Jack Wraith, spokesman for the Mobile Phone Industry added: "The Mobile Phone Industry has welcomed the opportunity to work with the Banking Industry in developing these guidelines to ensure that the customer experience in using contactless payments, via mobile devices, is both secure and robust."

He described the mobile phone as an integral part of modern day life and said the Mobile Phone Industry will continue to work with all stakeholders to mitigate any risk to customers in the operation of contactless payment technology.


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