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Move Over, Apple Pay: Samsung Gains Steam on Biometric M-Commerce

As the future of payments becomes increasingly mobile and digital, moving away from simple, static password-based authentication and towards more advanced methods that will improve security, as well as enable frictionless commerce, has become a stretch goal for the commerce sector. Samsung and Alipay, the largest third-party online payment provider in China, are gearing up to do their part with the launch the first Fast IDentification Online (FIDO)-Ready authentication ecosystem in the Far East.

Alipay offers payment and escrow services for transactions on Alibaba Group’s marketplaces as well as to third parties in China. It plans to enable secure online payments via the fingerprint sensor (FPS)/biometric technology on the Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. The end result is that customers who make purchases and transfers in Alipay’s mobile application, Alipay Wallet, no longer need to enter a password.

Samsung had announced back in April that it would use the S3 Authentication Suite from Nok Nok Labs to make the Galaxy S5 smartphone FIDO-enabled. The FIDO set of specifications will support a full range of authentication technologies, including biometrics such as fingerprint, eye and iris scanners, voice and facial recognition, as well as further enabling existing solutions and communications standards, such as trusted platform modules (TPM), USB security tokens, embedded secure elements (eSE), smart cards, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and near field communication (NFC). The open specifications are being designed to be extensible and to accommodate future innovation, as well as protect existing investments.

Alipay will use the technology from Nok Nok, a founding member of the FIDO Alliance, to support the secure mobile shopping experience with an authentication infrastructure that communicates securely with the client present on the Galaxy S5.

The Nok Nok solution was delivered in partnership with Lenovo Group, another founding member of the FIDO Alliance.

“Working with Alipay, a major player in the global online commerce, to provide an easy, secure experience for their customers is tremendous validation for the FIDO movement,” said Phillip Dunkelberger, president and CEO at Nok Nok Labs, in a statement. “As a global leader in delivering internet-scale services to their customers, they needed a solution that can scale to meet future authentication requirements, while ensuring that consumers get a secure, yet easy-to-use solution today.”

PayPal also recently announced that it too would deploy FIDO standards using Nok Nok and support for the Galaxy 5 in the mobile payments market.

It’s expected that other device manufacturers will embrace FIDO standards as well, although fragmentation is already happening: Apple last week announced its own strong authentication gambit, Apple Pay, which will be proprietary to the iPhone.

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