When it comes to mobile payments, we’ve long been frustrated by the lack of utility. Google Wallet has been blocked in favor of other services like Isis, with many credit card companies wary of the service altogether. Using KitKat’s new Host Card Emulator feature, both Visa and Mastercard are ready to make mobile payments happen in a big way.
The key here is emulation. With older methods for NFC payment, the rub was always a device’s secure element, which kept the card information locked away on the device itself. Carriers questioned it’s security, while other companies were just not willing to let a mobil device house sensitive information.
With Host Card Emulation via Android KitKat, card companies like Visa or Mastercard can keep our data stored remotely, in their own cloud storage solution. By utilizing an API called “Visa Ready Program”, Visa is set to allow any app that wants to use their system of mobile payment to do so. Say you want to go to Walgreens to pick up some odds and ends; if their app uses the Visa Ready Program API, then you can pay via the app without having to utilize Wallet or other services at all.
Another setback for mobile payments has been point-of-sale. Many card swipe machines, though they have the ability to do so, simply aren’t set up for NFC or mobile payments. Without a direction forward, retailers were reluctant to make it happen on their end. Hopefully, this helps toward that end.