Alternative payment firm Wirecard AG has now adopted the Host Card Emulation (HCE) standard for NFC based payments and has integrated it into its mobile wallet platform.
HCE eliminates the need for a physical secure element located on the device to store payment info and is stores card holder data on dedicated servers. The feature was introduced by Google with the release of its latest mobile operating system Android 4.4 KitKat. The addition of HCE removes possible cell carrier limitations and allows for more of an open source developer friendly protocol.
“HCE will help further distribute NFC technology in the field of mobile payment as it is opening up this market to different players, allowing them to operate more quickly and flexibly in future. Through the integration of HCE technology into our Mobile Wallet Platform, we are once again demonstrating our innovative strength in the area of online technology,” comments Markus Braun, CEO of Wirecard AG, adding.
To utilize HCE in the most secure manner, Wirecard wil be using a one-off tokenization per transaction system to prevent any sensitive data from remaining on the device, similar to EMV trnasactions. All sensitive payment information will be held in Wirecard’s PCI-compliant servers.
“With our future-proof solutions, we are consistently driving forward the extensive distribution of mobile payment services in collaboration with our partners. Our aim is to offer innovative solutions for a mobile, cashless future,” summarizes Markus Braun.
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The main drawback of HCE is the market share. Currently the only devices capable of HCE transactions are Android 4.4+ devices. These devices consist of only 2.5% of all Android phones in circulation. According to Google, most devices will be running the latest OS, as failure to do so can result in Google preventing its play-services to run on devices not on Android 4.4 or higher.
Google also recently announced its own mobile payment system Google Wallet will work strictly with the HCE standard, meaning devices not running KitKat will be left out.
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