MasterCard backs host card emulation for NFC payments

MasterCard is to publish a new specification during the first half of 2014 that uses host card emulation (HCE) for NFC mobile payments — avoiding the need to have access to a secure element on a customer’s mobile phone — and is already testing the technology with Spain’s Banco Sabadell and Capital One in the US.


The specification, developed over the past year in collaboration with the two banks, is designed to be “in addition to MasterCard’s longstanding support for embedded and SIM-based SE implementations” and is expected to “drive greatly expanded availability of mobile contactless payments for consumers.”

“In certain environments it will make sense to have HCE, in others secure element,” Mario Shiliashki, SVP of emerging payments at MasterCard, explained to NFC World. “We absolutely think that HCE will drive faster adoption for NFC payments.”

“We absolutely think that HCE will drive faster adoption for NFC payments”

“MasterCard’s approach combines custom software on the mobile device with highly secure cloud-based processing,” the payments network says. “This greatly simplifies and speeds the deployment process of NFC-based mobile offerings to consumers by card-issuing financial institutions.”

“The pilots have helped inform MasterCard’s direction, and the learnings will pave the way for additional deployments planned in 2014 with other financial institutions around the world.”

“Consumers are now shopping and paying in whatever way best fits their needs and lifestyles – and from every device they own,” James Anderson, MasterCard’s group head of emerging payments, explains. “To meet their expectations for convenience, we need to accelerate the availability of services in the market. The use of HCE provides a very attractive way forward to launch an increased number of NFC-based offerings.”

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