Restoring Trust in the Digital Age – the Great Debate at MWC Industry Seminar

The security of customer data has never been more crucial. In our digital world, the risk of fraud has reached unprecedented heights and consumers are increasingly cautious about entrusting organisations with their data credentials. This presents organisations across multiple sectors with a whole host of challenges, with the need for equilibrium between data security and simplicity of use becoming more of a priority as the landscape continues to evolve.

On March 1st at Mobile World 2017, global industry leaders gathered for the Mobile Connect seminar on consumer protection and the fight against fraud. The seminar featured presentations from a wide variety of leading industry players, as well as two panel discussions on fraud and authentication respectively, in which experts examined the most urgent priorities in the combating of fraud, the various issues facing organisations and strategies with which these can be overcome, the best mechanisms by which to enhance authorisation, and the numerous ways in which Mobile Connect itself can be leveraged to provide high-grade security and enhanced customer experience across a multitude of verticals and use cases.

Perhaps the seminar’s most consistent theme was the vital importance of trust – identified by the GSMA’s Mark Harvey as a key enabler in the enhancement of customer experience. As GB Group Managing Director Glenn Porter pointed out, trust is no longer an inherent component of a transaction; the transition to an ever more digital world is drastically reducing the proportion of transactions in which buyer and seller physically meet.

Moreover, consumers are increasingly savvy about the general risks of fraud and breaches of data security when submitting credentials online, and as a consequence, robust countermeasures are essential for the provision of secure identity verification and maintenance of a dynamic of trust between brand and consumer. Behaviour was identified as being an important factor herein – one of a number of areas in which mobile operators can be of considerable use, given their established position as widely trusted brands and their extensive understanding of consumer behavioural patterns.

Equally, trust between organisations is also paramount – expert consensus was that, now more than ever, collaboration is key to the advancement of ecosystem. As highlighted by Brian Kuwahara of VISA, organisations can no longer operate as silos – development and adherence to agreed standards are crucial to the evolution of data security.

Similarly, enhancement of authentication solutions is a central aspect of the fight against fraud. The seminar’s second panel discussion examined the myriad ways in which its panel members approach authentication as industry players, and the value of Mobile Connect in its provision of a simple, highly secure, flexible authorisation solution was a recurrent theme.

Alex Gong of PayPal identified the particular importance of striking a balance between security and ease of use. As emphasised throughout the seminar, users want to feel that their data is absolutely secure, but equally do not want to be subjected to exhaustive identity verification processes, particularly for smaller transactions – the power of a simple, intuitive authorisation interface is not to be underestimated.

Will Dawson of MoneyOnMobile also discussed the need for varying levels of authentication across different use cases – heavy authentication, he pointed out, is generally too time-consuming for small transactions, but absolutely vital for larger ones.

Attendees also heard from 2016 Hackathon winner Share.CreditCard, whose creators further demonstrated the importance of striking a balance between security and simplicity with an explanation of their winning app, created using the Mobile Connect API and a range of VISA APIs. Notably, Mobile Connect enabled Share.CreditCard to provide user authentication that takes place entirely in-app, and also affords the app the capability to allow the user considerable power of customisation.

This exemplifies what is arguably Mobile Connect’s most central aim – to empower its users. With consumer demand for the highest levels of security only set to increase as the mobile payment ecosystem continues to grow, industry insight into the myriad innovations driving the advancement of data security continues to be invaluable, and as such, the seminar offered an exciting glimpse into the future of the entire digital ecosystem.