RIM Secure Element Manager Solution Gets Visa Mobile Payment Approval

by Istvan Fekete on January 17, 2013

Research In Motion has scored another win in the battle for mobile payments. The company announced yesterday that they have received approval from Visa for its Secure Element Manager (SEM) solution for Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payments.

This means BlackBerry users will be able to use their handset for payments at checkouts instead of their Visa cards, as the payment method securely links NFC-capable BlackBerry devices to bank accounts and credit cards using encrypted mobile payment technology.

In other words, BlackBerry users will be able to use their mobile phones as bank cards, and pay for items by holding it up to a sales terminal. As Geoffrey MacGillivray, manager of services security and payments at RIM, points out, the partnership means any place users can tap their Visa card, they will now be able tap their BlackBerry as well.

You may recall that last year Rogers and CIBC teamed up to launch the “suretap” mobile payment app. The first payment was made by Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield via his BlackBerry Bold 990, who bought three coffees for $5.80.

Visa’s approval for RIM’s Secure Element Manager system adds more trust to the slowly growing, yet skeptical mobile payments industry in Canada. It is built on a partnership between Research In Motion and EnStream (a joint venture between Canada’s three biggest wireless networks: Bell, Telus and Rogers), and under the agreement, RIM will be in charge of managing security credentials for SIM cards in BB devices and handsets running both Android and Windows operating systems.

With Visa as a partner, RIM becomes a prominent player in the mobile payment industry, and opens the door for other credit card companies.

Furthermore, Visa’s approval adds another reason for owning a BlackBerry 10 device, which RIM is preparing to introduce on 30 January. This feature allows the manufacturer to catch up with the growing number of Android devices already featuring the NFC chip, although the Google Wallet has been heavily criticized since its launch.

Also, it would give the company an advantage over of Apple, as its latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, does not feature the eagerly awaited NFC chip, as the company decided not to implement it — at least not yet.

“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa issuing banks and financial institutions,” said Frank Maduri, Senior Director, NFC Services and TSM Product Management at RIM. “We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device, and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”

Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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