Tappy Technologies Introduces Wristband for Biometric Mobile Payments Authentication
The rise in contactless payments that we’ve seen lately—in particular over the last couple of days—has driven a lot of new interest, and plenty of potential for disaster. Yet even as contactless is on the rise, so too are potential new security solutions, including one from Tappy Technologies. This particular item is actually capable of fitting inside a watch band, which will make mobile payments security go just about anywhere mobile payments themselves do.
The new Tappy technology is a biometric authentication touchpad, and since it fits in a watchband, it’s mostly geared to be a fingerprint scanner. Basically, this system will allow banks to run their own security measures, and cut larger firms with smartwatches like Apple out of the loop altogether.
Tappy didn’t offer much background on how it works, but it did note that there’s an “embedded secure element” contained in the band, along with a finger scanner and near-field communications (NFC) transmitter. Since it’s also water-resistant and doesn’t require a battery, it can comfortably go most anywhere.
Right now, the Tappy system is only available in mainland China, working with China UnionPay and the Bank of China to offer authentication to the UnionPay card system. Of course, there’s nothing saying it will stay there, and there are already reports it’s planning to branch out from there.
It’s likely to prove useful; with contactless payments on the rise, especially with Visa, having a simple, easy to use way to authenticate these payments would be especially helpful. Something that doesn’t depend on a carrier doesn’t hurt either, though Apple et al will likely be smarting over the loss of potential revenue. For banks, credit unions, and other independent mobile payments operations, it’s a great way to jump ahead of the curve.
Only time will tell how well how well Tappy works, but it’s certainly got the basic ingredients to turn out well. Protecting contactless mobile payments will likely prove a draw, especially for firms looking to draw interest away from the major providers, and it might even be the kind of thing some majors—like Visa—may want to suborn for themselves.