Will MasterCard's New NFC Trial Give M-Commerce Transactions Chip-And-PIN Rates?

If paying with a mobile phone isn't any easier than just using a card in-store, maybe it can at least improve the mobile-commerce buying process. That seems to be the idea behind a trial MasterCard announced on Wednesday (Nov. 7). In the Netherlands-based test (which actually began in mid-October and runs through March 2013), an NFC-equipped phone can be used to make M-Commerce purchases, with the phone sending an EMV-compliant cryptogram to complete the transaction after the customer selects a payment card and keys in a PIN. In effect, it's Chip-and-PIN over the phone.

That's slightly easier for customers than having to key in the whole card number and slightly safer than the merchant storing the number. But the real value to retailers will show up if MasterCard declares that its own EMV solution qualifies M-Commerce transactions for card-present interchange rates (or at least for the EMV-based liability shift). In that case, online merchants may suddenly be very interested in offering customers that option. If not—well, there's always room for yet another NFC payments approach that retailers have no reason to adopt, right?