Peer-to-Peer Mobile Payments using J2ME
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22-04-2010, 12:05 AM

Mobile P2P Payment was designed to replace cash-based transactions. The cell phone has revolutionised the way that we operate. It has evolved from simply being a communication device to also being our calendar, instant messaging device, address book, camera, photo browser, and shopping list organiser. Cell phones are also primed to take over as our primary payment vehicle. Indeed, in countries such as Japan and Korea, it is already possible to pay for vending machine purchases, groceries, and even airline tickets, using just your cell phone. It is quite likely that, in a few years, every mobile phone service provider will have some sort of mobile payment solution “ if they do not already.

However, the current mobile solutions all require infrastructure support. In particular, they cannot work if at least one of the parties involved in the payment is not connected to some back-end payment server (via either SMS or GSM/CDMA based technology). However, there are many situations where this connectivity may not be possible or desired.

Ideally, there would be ubiquitous wireless networking that is reliable and secure. However, wireless connectivity can be affected by urban canyons, weather, incompatibilities between telecom carriers, and heavy network traffic. For example, it is not unheard of for SMS messages to be delayed by several minutes, which would lead to a poor user experience for a mobile payment system relying on SMS.

These connectivity issues, coupled with anonymity concerns and the additional cost of subscribing to a central payment service, ensure that cash transactions will remain common in the near future. This is particularly true in continents such as Asia where small independent operators (selling food, clothing, providing transportation etc.) are very common.

In this paper, we present the design and evaluation of a peerto- peer (p2p) mobile payment solution that does not require any additional connectivity or infrastructure beyond the cellphones of the participants. This solution uses secure near- field communication (NFC) technology and is meant to be used by individuals in lieu of regular cash transactions. The key features of our system are that i) it is as fast and easy as typical cash transactions, ii) it requires
no training, and iii) it is secure.

Hardware Requirements

In order to be secure, mFerio will need the following three hardware components:

¢ Secure Wireless Communication Mechanism:
To promote ease of use, mFerio will need to use a wireless communication medium to perform transactions. This medium also has to provide excellent security, both from a systems perspective as well as from a usability standpoint (i.e., people can easily understand how it works and perform any necessary actions correctly). We chose NFC for wireless communication in mFerio. NFC has three primary advantages over other mechanisms. First, NFC has a short range, on the order of 1-2 inches, making it hard for intruders to intercept communications. Users can also clearly see anyone trying to intercept the transaction. This is not the case for longer range protocols, such as WiFi and Bluetooth, where there is less certainty as to whether or not there are others eavesdropping on your communication.
¢ Fast Secure Authentication:
We designed mFerio to require authentication before use. However, studies have shown that traditional authentication mechanisms, such as pincodes, tend to be cumbersome and hard for users to use properly. To prevent mFerio from falling into the trap of secure yet unusable authentication, we plan to use various biometric-based authentication mechanisms. These biometric schemes have shown promise in providing secure yet easy to operate authentication.

Payment Modalities
mFerio is designed to support p2p transactions. In p2p exchanges, there are only two parties, the Initiator and the Recipient. Either party can be either Receiving or Sending.

Developing Mobile P2P Payment
We can use Nokia 6131 phones with built-in NFC capability as our target platform. The application can be built using J2ME and the Netbeans IDE. We can simulate the use of a fingerprint reader for fast authentication, as as there were no suitable versions that would work effectively with the Nokia 6131 phone.
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