Secure Technology Alliance Focuses on Resources for Education and Implementation of COVID-19 Era Secure Technologies Including Contactless Payments and Mobile Identity Solutions

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels

With the changing focus across industries on touch-free experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to resources for understanding and implementing contactless technology is essential for service providers, end-users and payments, access security, transportation and digital identity experts. To help with this, the Secure Technology Alliance is focusing on contactless technology and secure mobile solutions for payments and identity verification, and is providing a number of useful white papers and webinars for the COVID and post-COVID eras.

Most recently, the Alliance updated a white paper, “Implementation Considerations for Contactless Payment-Enabled Wearables with Secure Elements.” This resource provides an overview of the market and applications for contactless wearables and the different models being used for implementation. According to market research and consulting firm Reports and Datathe global wearable device market is expected to grow to $1121.01 billion in 2026. With emphasis on touch-free transactions to mitigate the spread of germs and bacteria, wearables may see more adoption alongside the uptick in contactless card usage. Mastercard reported a 40% jump in contactless payment transactions just during the first quarter of this year.

Pre-COVID numbers also pointed to increasing adoption of contactless payment and mobile ticketing methods for transit. After the initial slowdown in transit usage at the start of the pandemic, Visa reported a 187+% recovery in contactless transactions for transit by the end of June. The Secure Technology Alliance has been supporting the convergence of multi-modal transit payments through mobile apps, dedicating a full track to Mobility as a Service (MaaS) at the most recent Payments Summit in February 2020. As requests for contactless options in public transit and demand for alternatives like bikeshares and electric scooters increase, the Alliance will continue to bring transit operators, payment networks and MaaS services providers together to explore the implementation considerations and provide guidance to the transportation industry.

The shift to touchless has also brought an increase in online transactions. TransUnion reported a 250% increase in digital transactions for financial institutions. With this movement to online, it has become more important than ever to implement fraud fighting tools. One possible layer of defense against card-not-present transaction fraud is dynamic security code cards, which hinder fraudsters from using stolen card data. The Secure Technology Alliance has published more information on this security method in the “Dynamic Security Code Cards: A Primer” white paper, which outlines the benefits of dynamic security codes for issuers, merchants and cardholders, and the implementation impact on payments stakeholders.

Mobile Identity Use Cases

The trend towards touchless transactions is not just limited to payments; there has been growing interest in the touchless experience across industries as they search for better digital identification and authentication solutions and applications. The Alliance Identity Council has a project team for mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs), which are seeing adoption across the U.S. mDLs are a form of digital identity on mobile devices that provide electronically authenticated and digitally readable contactless identification features for previously high-contact situations, such as airport security, law enforcement road stops and retail applications requiring age eligibility or address verification. State driver’s license agencies will issue mDLs and enable users to control what personal information they share and how essential identification data is transmitted to authorized parties without handing over a phone or license.

The Alliance also launched mDLConnection.coman online educational hub to help to inform the U.S. market about mDL technology, its applications and its current implementation status across states. Along with the website, the Alliance released a white paper and FAQ and hosted a multi-part webinar series to discuss mDLs and the impact they will have on identity verification as more states adopt the technology. Additional webinars are planned for later this fall. The Alliance’s Access Control Council is also developing a resource paper on applications for using mobile devices for access control, which provides mobile, secure and touch-free access to buildings, hotel rooms and other facilities.

These are just a few of the Alliance resources for education and implementation of COVID-19 era technologies. As demands for faster, safe and more secure transactions trend towards contactless, the Alliance is dedicated to filling the gaps in industry knowledge with resources created through industry council projects and initiatives. For continuing updates on the Secure Technology Alliance, visit and follow @SecureTechOrg on Twitter. 

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