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HSBC to introduce HCE NFC payments on Android phones?

HSBC logo in Android Tap & pay settings
APP LOADED: The HSBC app logo is seen in Android’s Tap & pay settings page

There are signs that global bank HSBC could be preparing to roll out host card emulation (HCE) based NFC payments on Android devices in the UK, after an NFC World reader spotted that the HSBC mobile banking app now shows as an option under the “Tap & pay” menu in Android’s settings.

Reader Simon Hunter contacted NFC World to point out the recent appearance of an HSBC icon in Android’s native “Tap & pay” set-up screen.

“Just noticed this in my phone’s tap and pay option under settings,” he said. “The only other app I know that ever appears there is Google Wallet.”

NFC World was able to reproduce the result when loading the app onto a stock Nexus 5 running Android Lollipop and with a non-NFC SIM.

But no payment functionality exists yet. “Nothing much happens when touched on the card reader,” says Simon, who tried the phone against a contactless POS terminal. “The reader just rejects and says try again. The app doesn’t pop open or anything.”

HSBC is one of five UK banks expected to launch Zapp mobile payments this year via QR codes and NFC integrated into their own mobile banking apps.

HSBC’s mobile banking app is a global offering, with users selecting which country’s services they wish to access when they set it up.

The bank has not responded to requests for comment.

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3 comments on this article

  1. How is this a “sign of HCE”?

    Any app that registers for payment AID shows up in the tap&pay menu. So, also normal sim-based SE (off-host) payment apps.

    1. I don’t think apps that require a SE will show up under Tap and Pay on a Nexus 5, which doesn’t one. I doubt HSBC will require SIM support either – that would be a stupid decision, that would require a lot of work with carriers.

      1. If you want them to work you have to define the AID on the offhost APDU config.
        If you do,they appear under tap and matter if the specific phone have a SE or not.

        Hsbc already have mobile payment with SIM SE in Hong Kong.

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