Digital security provider Gemalto announced its UICC-embedded software application has been certified as compliant with MasterCard's new payment specification for mobile near field communications (NFC). Universal integrated circuit cards (UICC) are the "smart cards" embedded in cellphones that store consumer data. Gemalto said both its UICC and software had met MasterCard's specifications.

According to Gemalto, this certification is a necessary step for the full-scale rollout of NFC payment. In an email, a spokesperson for Gemalto said the company has 45 pilot programs and commercial launches of NFC programs at the moment.

Gemalto said its certified application enables "mobile account issuance" and "over-the-air management," meaning that payment and wireless accounts can be quickly linked and managed in real-time by consumers, including the ability to top-up prepaid accounts directly from a cellphone. The application also lets consumers set up and manage a mobile personal identification number for greater account security.

James Anderson, vice president of mobile for MasterCard Worldwide, said "We are pleased to collaborate with Gemalto to broadly expand the use of mobile payment services."

"Gemalto is committed to supporting its customers in their large-scale deployments of mobile NFC payment, with a complete mobile contactless offer," said Jean-Claude Deturche, senior vice-president of mobile financial solutions at Gemalto.

"This new certification from MasterCard makes Gemalto the first on the market for this mobile product and will enable banks and wireless operators to offer a secure, innovative and convenient payment means to their entire customer base," Deturche said.

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