First Bank to Launch Mobile NFC Payments via Host Card Emulation

Recently, Spanish Bank BBVA announced that it is the first global banking group to commercially launch mobile NFC payments based on new cloud-based payment specification from Visa.

Our employees and some of our customers, who are the most active users of BBVA Wallet in Spain, are already using this latest technology that gives BBVA the opportunity to offer our millions of customers worldwide an incredibly simple and intuitive way to start using their phone for contactless payments, stated BBVA Global Payment Systems director, Mehmet Sezgin, in a press release. Our goal is for BBVA Wallet to become a product that is carried by and used by our customers across all the geographical areas in which we operate, he added.

The new cloud-based system will enable BBVA users with NFC-enabled Android handsets to make contactless purchases by just downloading an updated version of the BBVA Wallet app, according to the bank.

  • BBVA Wallet already possesses over 200,000 users.
  • It operates in an integrated way on any latest-generation Android phone equipped with NFC technology.
  • The international expansion of BBVA Wallet has been possible through Visa’s Cloud Based Payments specification, according to the bank.
  • This incorporates the use of Host Card Emulation technology.
  • Cloud-based payments allow in-store payment transactions utilizing secure data held within the banks ‘cloud-based’ systems, rather than relying on a hardware-based Secure Element.
  • Hence, the payment apps can run independently of the operator providing the telephony service.
  • This results in a qualitative improvement of the user's experience, as there will be no need to replace the SIM card, states the bank.
  • HCE technology is being incorporated into the main mobile operating systems and already works with the latest versions of Google's Android 4.4 system.
  • BBVA Wallet enables users to receive instant notifications of each transaction or being able to finance purchases when making the payment.
  • Consumers utilizing BBVA Wallet will find a wide array of discounts and offerings they can apply to the purchases they make at affiliated stores, making its use even more attractive.

The banking industry has recognized the demand for mobile payments from customers across Europe. Mobile offers a faster way to make secure payments and also has the potential to integrate with other forms of mobile banking functionality, supporting better money management. Cloud-based payments and HCE functionality is helping improve the time to market for banks looking to offer mobile contactless to their customers, while broadening the accessibility for consumers, commented the Executive Director for Mobile, Visa Europe, Jeremy Nicholds, in the same release. We are delighted that BBVA, as a leading global financial institution, chose to take this step with Visa as their partner of choice. The BBVA Wallet update is already operating in Spain, and will be extended to BBVA customers in the U.S., Mexico and Chile this year.