Safe and Secure - On Trial in Ennis

The Sunday World, 21st May 2000

For the first time smart card technology and the latest in mobile phone technology have been brought together in Ennis for a trial marriage to see if they have a future together.

This is the world's first financial end-to-end secure mobile transaction trial employing both smart card and WAP technology. This test, conducted by Eircom, Eircell and Bank of Ireland over a six week period, is using Visa Cash, the electronic purse smart card which is also currently being trialed in Ennis. An electronic purse smart card is a card you can put money into from your bank account, just like a purse, and spend it when you want.

This is the first time in the world that the technology deployed in both WAP and smart cards is being aligned to enable end-to-end secure financial transactions, whereby the card, cardholder and infrastructure are all authenticated.

One of the biggest blocks to people using the internet to buy things is the fear of having their credit cards abused. So the WAP Visa Cash trial is a significant step forward for mobile e-commerce (and m-commerce which is using your mobile phone to conduct business on the web), moving WAP services to a new level.

The WAP Visa Cash trial will be carried out using the Nokia 7110 WAP mobile phone - the first phone offering internet connection on sale in Ireland - which will have specially designed card readers attached.

During the trial in Ennis, WAP technology will be used by 100 Bank of Ireland Visa Cash cardholders to load value to their cards from their bank accounts using their Nokia WAP mobile phone over the Eircell network. Visa Cash can be used in Ennis to pay for low value, everyday items as well as in parking meters, vending machines and eircom payphones in Ennis.

The trial will provide an invaluable learning experience that will help in further developing strategies for e-commerce services via WAP. It will hopefully pave the way for e-commerce, enabling consumers to make purchases and payments via mobile handsets with complete peace of mind.

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