Mobiles to be used for card authentication...

Lloyds-TSB looks like being the first out of the gate in terms of customers using their mobile phones as a means of authenticating their card transactions.

According to Ken Farrow, the bank's head of financial crime, South Africa's First National Bank and a couple of banks in New Zealand are now using text messages to deliver authentication codes.

And, says Farrow, the mobile phone is perfectly suited for two-factor authentication because people carry the handsets with them all the time.

He also predicts that, before long, it will be possible to add a slim card reader to mobiles, and that some handsets may even include a card reader as a standard feature.

APACS, the UK banking industry body, doesn't appear to be persuaded, as Richard Martin, a business security consultant with the body, is quoted by some newswires as saying that an open slot on a handset will weaken the structure of the phone and make it bulkier.

The future, he says, lies with contactless cards such as Paypass, since they can communicate with a mobile phone without the need for a card reader.

Now that's an interesting option...