Mobile devices have come a long way since they first entered our lives all those years ago. In terms of banking functions alone, we can now open bank accounts, review our transaction history, transfer money to other people, pay for purchases in-store or via the Internet, and even pay our taxes with our telephones. Technology in this area is exploding as fast as people are starting to use the functionality, and with so many different parties involved, it is clear that an agreed interface between the various devices and payment systems is essential.

The ISO 12812 series of standards and technical specifications aims to define common terms and requirements that allow for wider and more advanced interoperability. Its various parts define the technical components and their interfaces and the roles of the different parties involved.

The series is being developed by working group 10 of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 68/SC 7 for core banking services, whose secretariat is held by AFNOR, ISO's member in France.

The Chair of ISO/TC 68/SC 7, Patrice Hertzog, said increased security of transactions will be just one of the many benefits of the standards once they are in use.

“There are now about three times as many cell phones as bank accounts in the world, and customers are increasingly using their devices to manage all their banking needs. While the number of applications and the functionality are ever growing, there is still the capability for much more. In order for mobile payments and financial services to be truly widespread – as are credit and debit cards – it is critical that standards be established in this area. These standards will not only facilitate and promote interoperability and build a safe environment for mobile payments, but highlight gaps in standardization which can then be filled.”

The standards and technical specifications in the series will include:

  • ISO 12812-1, Core banking – Mobile financial services – Part 1: General framework
  • ISO/TS 12812-2, Core banking – Mobile financial services – Part 2: Security and data protection for mobile financial services
  • ISO/TS 12812-3, Core banking – Mobile financial services – Part 3: Financial application lifecycle management
  • ISO/TS 12812-4, Core banking – Mobile financial services – Part 4: Mobile payments-to-person
  • ISO/TS 12812-5, Core banking – Mobile financial services – Part 5: Mobile payments to business

The draft versions of the ISO 12812 suite of standards are available for purchase from your national ISO member, while the final versions will be published later this year.