Hold Onto Your WAPs, Here Come the Apps!

  • Written By: P. Hayes
  • Published: May 19 2000

Hold Onto Your WAPs, Here Come the Apps!
P. Hayes - May 19, 2000

Event Summary

Visa U.S.A., the world's leading payment company and CyberBills, the pioneer in total bill management, announced a partnership to offer consumers convenient, cost-effective, and secure wireless bill payment services. Together, Visa and CyberBills will jointly market applications for mobile phones and hand-held devices to enable 'anytime, anywhere' bill payment transactions via the Internet.

Market Impact

Joining the onslaught of wireless enabled applications is Visa U.S.A and CyberBills. Initially wireless applications had a far narrower scope. Wireless applications, up to now, have been primarily an extension of the Internet, giving users the ability to check e-mail, fetch stock quotes, and get up to the minute sports scores. Due to the seemingly certain global standardization on the Wireless Access Protocol (WAP), Short Message Service (SMS) and the addition of Wireless Markup Language (WML) software vendors are quickly porting applications to service wireless access users.

Some of the first examples of bi-directional or transactional-based wireless access have been on the part of banks and on-line brokerage houses. A good example of this is Financial Fusion's wireless applications targeted at financial institutions, such as Old Kent (which also includes a bill payment service). Visa U.S.A's operations, coupled with the established on-line CyberBills will allow wireless users complete flexibility as to when, where, and how a user can make payments. The remaining question is simply, " How Secure is it?"

User Recommendations

Transactional-based wireless access will allow users rapid access to all forms of data, whether it is finance, e-mail, or stock quotes. The problem remaining is quite simply security. Before embarking on any financial wireless application, verify that your financial institution or brokerage house has the ability support Wireless Transport Layer Security (WTLS) coupled with RSA's RC5 encryption algorithm. If the answer is no, ask when and hold off until that time. Remember, it's your privacy, your money and your peace of mind that you need to protect.

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