HCE Poised for 'Stupendous Leap': 20 Major Developments in H1 2015

The support for host card emulation (HCE) technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Since the time it was introduced in the KitKat version of Android, HCE support in smartphones has been growing in a steep curve.

Banks and merchants have collectively spent billions of dollars powering mobile apps to provide the best mobile services to consumers. They see their apps as the preferred low-cost, high-touch channels of interaction that can deliver rich services through mobile devices. With HCE, they can enable their existing banking and merchant apps to become wallets for payments anywhere in the physical environment while allowing them to maintain total control over the brand and user experience.

This article talks about 20 major developments in HCE in H1 2015

Initiatives by Banks and Payment Processors

Visa brings HCE mobile payments to nine Polish banks

Nine Polish banks are planning to launch Visa’s cloud-based mobile contactless payment services in early 2016. The nine banks taking the initiative include ING Bank Śląski, mBank, Bank Millennium, Raiffeisen Polbank, Eurobank, Getin Bank, Bank Polskiej Spółdzielczości, Bank SMART and Bank Zachodni WBK. Around 70% of Visa cards in the Polish market have contactless functionality and the contactless technology accounts for 40% of all Visa payments in the market. More than 75% of all in-store point-of-sale (POS) terminals in Poland support contactless payments. Almost all of the Polish POS terminals are expected to support the technology by the end of 2017.

Fibank plans to introduce HCE mobile payments

Bulgaria’s First Investment Bank has partnered with MeaWallet to provide the bank’s customers with a mobile payments service which uses HCE. The service will be working at all outlets that accept MasterCard PayPass and Visa payWave payments. The payment service is expected to launch in H2 2015.

MasterCard expands reach of HCE to 15 more countries

In February, MasterCard announced that new HCE projects are underway in more than 15 countries. It said that it is conducting 25 pilot projects and programs in these countries.

Commonwealth bank introduces HCE-based NFC payments

Commonwealth Bank of Australia is working with MasterCard to use host card emulation to extend the availability of its mobile contactless payments service. G&D is the technology provider for the HCE service.

ANZ Bank selects Bell ID for HCE mobile payments

The ANZ goMoney wallet leverages Bell ID’s secure element (SE) in the cloud software platform, easing the delivery of secure mobile payment services as it removes the need for a separate app or a SIM card upgrade for customers. The project for the New Zealand division of ANZ Bank will bring contactless mobile payments to the smartphones of more than 120,000 ANZ customers.

Visa partners with banks across the globe to expand HCE services

Visa Inc. announced that it has partnered with several leading financial institutions around the world to offer new mobile payment services. BBVA and Cuscal launched new issuer-branded mobile payment applications for mobile devices running on Android. Additionally, Banco do Brazil, PNC Bank, N.A. and U.S. Bank intend to launch similar capabilities in the near future.

Türk Ekonomi Bankası to deploy HCE for contactless payments

Türk Ekonomi Bankası will be launching a mobile contactless payment application using Visa Europe’s host card emulation functionality to provide secure contactless payments. The bank’s customers will be able to make Visa contactless payments at more than 2.4 million contactless terminals across Europe.

Banca Intesa introduces contactless mobile payment service

Partnering with Intesa Sanpaolo Card and Visa, Banca Intesa introduced a unique Wave2Pay contactless mobile payment service based on HCE.

French banks start HCE payments pilot

BNP Paribas, Groupe BPCE, La Banque Postale and Société Générale have started a dry run of HCE mobile payment services with Visa Europe and payment and transaction services provider Worldline. Users will be able to make mobile payments at nearly 400,000 contactless point-of-sale terminals across the country.

AMP Bank turns to HCE

AMP Bank is one of the first small banks in the Asia-Pacific region to launch host card emulation (HCE) technology for mobile payments. The HCE technology is available to AMP Bank customers with an AMP Visa debit card.

ICBC launches the first HCE cloud payment credit card in Asia

ICBC announced the launch of HCE cloud payment credit card with China UnionPay and VISA, the first commercial bank to do so in Asia. The HCE credit card by ICBC and China UnionPay has been issued for the first time in the world.

German bank’s (Postbank) trial of HCE

Postbank plans to run an internal pilot of its NFC mobile payments app which works on HCE. Postbank’s employees would be participating in the pilot.

Siam Commercial Bank embraces HCE

The first commercial bank in Thailand is one of the first banks in South Asia to embrace HCE. Thailand has 10,000 NFC-enabled point-of-service terminals. NFC-ready mobile handsets account for 20-25% of the total number of Android-based smartphones.

The Bancorp and MeaWallet bring open loop mobile prepaid cards that use HCE

The Bancorp and MeaWallet have entered a partnership to deliver open loop mobile prepaid cards. The prepaid card will be using cloud-based security and host card emulation technology. MeaWallet’s cloud-based mobile platform will be used for issuing open loop mobile prepaid cards. The Bancorp’s new and existing customers will be able to add branded mobile wallets and cloud-based digital mobile prepaid cards to their portfolio of card products. MasterCard’s and Visa’s cloud-based schemes will initially be supported.

Initiatives by Technology Firms

HCE-based wearable digital wallet by Wirecard AG

In January 2015, Wirecard AG presented a wearable payment solution based on host card emulation (HCE) technology. For a quick and contactless payment process, the user simply holds the intelligent armband against the NFC payment terminal. The Wirecard Smart Band with its contactless payment function is worn on the wrist. It is wirelessly connected to an app on a smartphone and via Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE). In order to carry out a contactless payment, the user should first preload a one-off token to their payment band via their smartphone. This is made possible through Wirecard’s NFC host card emulation technology.

Windows 10 to bring HCE support

Microsoft is poised to release the new version of its Windows operating system, also known as Windows 10. Microsoft will reportedly enable mobile payments in a tap-to-pay manner. Apart from supporting NFC, Windows 10 will support host card emulation (HCE) as well. This will suppress the need for a secure element embedded in the phone or the SIM card. This means that Microsoft will not have to partner with mobile carriers to support payments. Instead, Microsoft will look to partnering with Visa, MasterCard and Amex to enable HCE-based mobile payments.

Proxama launches new service for HCE and tokenization

Proxama has introduced Digital Enablement Platform, a suite of digital payments products intended to simplify card issuers' adoption of NFC payments based on host card emulation and tokenization technologies.

YellowPepper partners with Carta Worldwide

YelloPepper is a provider of mobile banking and payment solutions to financial institutions in the Latin American region. It has partnered with Carta Worldwide which is a leading HCE technology provider. Carta Worldwide will provide their HCE technology to YellowPepper that will in turn leverage its regional footprint in more than 50 leading financial institutions and retailers to introduce the new technology to them and future clients.

Funding and Investments in HCE

Mozido invests in SimplyTapp

US firm SimplyTapp, an early developer of host card emulation (HCE) technology, has raised $2.5 million from Mozido. After the new funding, SimplyTapp’s total funding stands at $10.1 million. The company has disclosed that the funding will be sued to ramp up R&D and boost channel support for global partners.

Verizon Ventures invest in HCE startup SimplyTapp

Verizon has added SimplyTapp to its portfolio by being the undisclosed lead investor in SimplyTapp’s $5.9 million Series B funding round. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Blue Sky Capital were the other investors in the round.