Is Hewlett-Packard Planning to Get in on Mobile Payments?

November 17, 2014         By: Steven Anderson

The mobile payment market is gaining a lot of ground with just about every passing day, and new products and firms are getting in on the mix, each looking for a slice of a market that promises some substantial profit. Recent word emerged, however, to suggest that there’s one major new potential entry in a field already stuffed with entrants. That new firm? No less than Hewlett-Packard itself.

Word came from a recent HP announcement that the company was set to augment its line of chip-based payment cards, as well as its payment platform, and from there, some have made the connection that such an augmentation would go a long way toward fueling a line of mobile payments solutions.

More specifically, reports suggest that HP has put a focus on its Atalla security software, which now offers support for Apple Pay and several of Visa’s payment methods like Visa payWave. There’s also a new focus on near-field communications transactions, which are commonly regarded as more secure than many of the standard mobile methods. That added focus on security is particularly telling in the light of a growing array of high-profile hackings, ranging from businesses like Home Depot to Dairy Queen.

This new focus on security and versatility would likely serve HP well should it make the move into mobile payments.

A separate report from HP, called “The Security & Compliance Trends in Innovative Electronic Payments Report” showed that user authentication was a major problem when it came to bringing out new payment methods, with 66 percent of respondents to the report agreeing that it was a problem. Though there was a clear majority believing that user authentication was a problem, just 38 percent of respondents–only slightly better than half the number believing it a problem–believed that it was such a problem that it would make consumers reconsider using such payment systems. Further, the study found that 75 percent of respondents were in on organizations that planned to add support for mobile payments and stored value cards. Forty three percent were out to incorporate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin outright.

So what the study suggests–along with the moves that HP seems to have in mind–is that there is clear demand for the kind of services that HP might be looking to add on. A particular focus on security makes particular sense here, especially in light of the fact that a large number consider it to be a problem, but a substantial number don’t believe it’s such a problem that it will keep users away. So for HP to be able to address these issues should not only get users interested in a mobile payment solution, but also in the particular solution HP has in mind. If HP can offer a mobile payment solution that has a particular edge in security, then it may well have the key to taking a larger share of the mobile payments market.