HCE Continues to Gain Ground as PPS, Proxama Ink Deal (June 16, 2014)
More mobile wallet providers are pinning their hopes on host card emulation (HCE) technology to facilitate NFC payments. Last week, London-based PrePay Solutions (PPS)—a prepaid card program manager jointly owned by MasterCard and Edenred—announced a collaboration with NFC specialist Proxama that will enable PPS to provide HCE-based contactless payments to their clients, including financial services providers, banks and retailers.
HCE’s cloud-based credential storage eliminates the need for a secure element (SE) to make payments via mobile device—in turn enabling developers to launch NFC mobile wallets without involving a telecom provider. The technology has gained some big-name backers, including MasterCard, Visa and Google, all of which have announced support for HCE. PPS has been at the forefront of launching SE-based NFC mobile financial services with telcos, including its Paybefore Award-winning EE Cash on Tap and Orange Cash. “In this highly competitive sector, offering new ways to use our payment products is a real priority for us,” said Ray Brash, chairman and CEO, PPS. “Through this partnership, we have been able to take the best from our own portfolio and offer more value to our clients by taking our payment propositions to the mobile world with HCE through Proxama.”
While HCE eventually could be the key to drive NFC payments into the mainstream, some observers have cautioned that it’s no cure-all. A recent discussion paper from SIMalliance, a trade group that works to promote the SE’s role in payments, identified the hurdles facing HCE, including its immaturity as a technology, lack of widespread standardization and higher vulnerability to malicious attack relative to SE-based systems. Others have suggested that HCE’s cloud-based model could leave users out to dry when cloud connectivity is unavailable or lost.
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