Gone are the days where Google Wallet and Isis Mobile are the only ways to pay with NFC. They head down the lonely road with carriers blocking the ability to download Google Wallet. With Android KitKat’s new Host Card Emulation (HCE) feature, Google has taken charge and removed the need for your phone to have a “secure element” in order to pay with NFC.
Payment company giants Visa and MasterCard have recently stated that they are in full support of this feature and that soon respective cardholders will be able to pay with their phones instead of searching their wallets for debit/credit cards. Don’t get overly excited though – this process (of course) will take time to roll out for many services, but it’s good to see the companies’ official statements on the matter.
Visa has already updated its PayWave services for HCE, and is currently working with other companies, namely U.S. Bank, RBC and National Australia Bank to join in on the process. MasterCard has stated they are hoping to release the tools needed for HCE in the first half of this year.
This is a big change from the Google-vs-carrier politics we knew pertaining to Google Wallet/Isis and NFC payments, almost thinking that Google was putting money into a niche that would not catch.