The announcement on 16 December by the board of the UK Payments Council that cheques are to be phased out by 2018 has heightened the need for secure replacement payment systems.
New security technology developed at Oxford University by Professor Bill Roscoe and his team that allows people to make payments via mobile phones, offers a solution.
The technology is designed to work in almost all situations: person to person, in a shop or restaurant, at a vending machine, online, or as part of a telephone conversation.
Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford’s technology transfer company, is working with Professor Roscoe to commercialise the technology.
‘A key requirement of new payment systems will be the ability to make payments from person to person, such as paying a builder or a friend,’ said Professor Roscoe of Oxford University’s Computing Laboratory.
‘What we have is technology which enables anyone to easily create a secure connection between two devices: it can work via Bluetooth, WiFi, the internet or across ordinary telephone or SMS connections.
‘The core of our technology is a new security protocol that enables strong cryptographic keys to be created with the least possible work. The key to the protocol is that it prevents anyone from doing any searching to break into the transaction.’