KARACHI: Visa on Tuesday announced it is offering clients new options to securely deploy mobile payment programs, including for the first time an option to host Visa pay Wave-enabled accounts in a secure, virtual cloud. The move expands Visa’s support for mobile payments globally and will give financial institutions greater choice in offering consumers secure ways to pay with smartphones.
Visa’s support for cloud-based payments follows the introduction of a new feature in the Android mobile operating system called Host Card Emulation (HCE); HCE allows any NFC application on an Android device to emulate a smart card, letting users wave-to-pay with their smartphones, while permitting financial institutions to host payment accounts in a secure, virtual cloud.
“Our clients and partners around the globe are continuously looking for flexible, cost efficient and secure ways to enable mobile payments,” said Elizabeth Buse, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions, Visa Inc. “The Android HCE feature provides us with a platform to evolve the Visa pay Wave standard, support the development of secure, cloud-based mobile applications, while at the same time offer greater choice to our clients.”
According to data released by International Data Corporation in February 2014, 78 percent of smartphones sold in Q4 2013 run on the Android operating system, and Android is enjoying strong gains in markets outside the U.S., including in China and Latin America. Android also recently became the fastest platform to reach one billion users worldwide.
“The Android community continues to build innovative ways to improve the lives of mobile users. We introduced HCE to make it easier for developers to create NFC applications like mobile payments, loyalty programs, transit passes, and other custom services,” said Benjamin Poiesz, Google Android Product Manager. “Visa’s move to enable NFC payments with Android devices is welcome news and will guide the way for the payments industry.”
In addition to supporting clients who are hosting the Visa account data on secure elements in smartphones, Visa is extending the Visa Ready Program to also support financial institutions and partners who wish to securely deploy Visa accounts in the cloud. The program provides new standards, tools, services and implementation guidelines, and ensures that cloud-based applications with Visa payment functionality are compatible with Visa’s requirements and payment industry security standards. The program includes:
Standards: Visa has enhanced its contactless payment application, Visa payWave, and is introducing a new standard, requirements, program approval process and implementation guidelines to enable financial institutions to securely host Visa accounts in a virtual cloud. The initial Visa payWave standard for cloud-based deployment is available now. Future versions of the Visa payWave standard will add support for QR codes and in-app payments.
Tools: Visa is also developing a software development kit (SDK) to support clients who wish to develop their own cloud-based payment applications or want to enhance their existing mobile banking applications with Visa payWave functionality.
Services: Visa is developing a new service and platform, to enable clients and partners to issue Visa accounts digitally – in the cloud, on secure elements in smartphones, or linked to a digital wallet. The solution will also enable the issuance of payment tokens that will replace the 16-digit payment account number and can be limited for use with a specific device, payment channel or merchant.
Ensuring payment security is one of Visa’s highest priorities and security in cloud-based payments is no exception. Visa will deploy several layers of security to protect payment accounts in the cloud, including at the Visa network, application and hardware levels. One-time use data, real-time transaction analysis, payment tokens and device fingerprinting technology make up a multi-layered defence against unauthorized account access.