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Tap on Mobile: Meeting merchant demand for more flexible acceptance

In the second part of a two-part series on Tap on Mobile, PCM spoke to Tim Dziubek, Director of Payment Products at Discover Global Network, to learn more about Tap on Mobile technology and how it’s opening up electronic payments for new merchants, as well as enhancing e-commerce security.

PCM: Tap on Mobile is something of an industry buzzword at the moment. Can you explain how this technology works?

Tim Dziubek (TD): Tap on Mobile has been developed in response to demand from a wide range of merchants looking to accept electronic payments as cash use continues to decline, especially with the pandemic.

These merchant categories are typically looking for cheaper and more flexible methods than the traditional POS terminal, and Tap on Mobile fits the bill as it enables mobile devices to accept contactless payments without the use of an external reader, USB or “dongle” attached to the device.

PCM: Why is Tap on Mobile gaining popularity with merchants and developers?

TD: The pandemic led to a dramatic acceleration in the use of electronic payments versus cash, such that eight in ten European consumers now prefer using contactless payments in any scenario. Although cash usage had been declining for decades, concerns about hygiene when using POS devices led to a dramatic decline in the use of cash and as a result, merchants who would not previously have taken electronic payments are looking for a solution.

Tap on Mobile is more flexible and easier to deploy than traditional POS terminals, and likely cheaper as well. For example, a merchant can be up and ready to accept payments within minutes, rather than waiting days or weeks for a card reader to arrive.

That’s good news for the merchant – and for their acquiring bank as well. What’s more, merchants can download Tap on Mobile from an app store just like a game or streaming app. Industry certifications such as EMV are tied to the app, not the merchant’s device – and that makes updates and maintenance a whole lot easier.

PCM: What’s Discover’s role in the development of Tap on Mobile?

TD: We’ve created a bespoke Software Development Kit (SDK) for use by mobile app developers to ensure new Tap on Mobile systems accept Discover-branded payment products.

That means our bank and acquiring partners can rest assured that payment products branded with Discover and its partners will remain top of wallet as this new wave of merchants – which research by your organisation suggests could constitute 30% of the market over the next five years – comes on-stream.

PCM:  What other applications can you envisage for Tap on Mobile?

TD: Some public transit providers are  exploring Tap on Mobile as part of a ticketing system that uses mobile devices to sell tickets or confirm purchase on board trains and buses. You can also see a use case for enabling instant ticketing and access to concerts, exhibitions and events via a mobile device controlled by a ticket-seller at entry.

Perhaps the most interesting new use case, however, is the use of Tap on Mobile as a form of ID authentication for e-commerce. After completing a transaction online, a user can tap a Near-Field Communication (NFC)-enabled card against their mobile device to confirm the presence of a second security factor in addition to the password used for a merchant’s website or e-commerce checkout.

Such confirmatory factors are increasingly being used to combat online fraud in Europe as part of the EU’s revised payment services directive, or PSD2.

Visit Discover® Global Network solutions to learn how Tap on Mobile can deliver greater convenience wherever customers shop or travel.

To find out more about Discover® Tap on Mobile, visit:


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