Where are we with Host Card Emulation?

Ever since Google announced support for Host Card Emulation (HCE) on Android - banks, tech providers and NFC based mobile payment companies have left no stone un-turned. After the early enthusiasm, there are several questions that need to be answered. It’s been a while since its launch, but HCE hasn’t gained the expected number of deployments across geographies. This article highlights the the two school of thoughts about HCE. One that is overly optimistic (based on Pros) and the others who are not so optimistic (the Cons).

Quick recap before we go into Pros and Cons. HCE describes the on-device technology that lets a phone to perform card emulation on a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled device without relying on access to a secure element. This means that apps in an NFC phone sporting KitKat can access payment, coupon, loyalty and other credentials on a host server and use them at merchants who have NFC terminals. All of this without having to rely on secure elements, usually controlled by a mobile operator or OS maker. Let's look at the current implementations done across the world with HCE technology in this table:

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