Wirecard has introduced an especially easy and secure method of contactless payment in the form of HCE (Host Card Emulation) technology. It’s a purely software-based solution that doesn’t require a special SIM card or security module to be built into the phone. As a result, it’s ideally suited to companies that want to reach a wide range of customers regardless of their mobile provider or device.
The far reach of payment apps
HCE is available for the Android operating system, which commands a market share of around 71 per cent in Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and China. Android is also enjoying a surge in popularity in the USA, where its market share currently stands at around 59 per cent (as of December 2015).
According to Google, the mobile operating system Android 4.4 (“KitKat” or higher), a requirement for HCE, is already installed on more than two-thirds of all Android devices (as of February 2016). The global reach of payment apps is also large: manufacturers sold around 1.4 billion smartphones in 2015 alone.
With the help of a smartphone app, a virtual prepaid card is created which users can use to pay at contactless point-of-sale terminals and chip card readers. They simply have to hold their smartphone on the device. It’s convenient, time-saving and above all secure: all data required for the transaction is kept not on the smartphone, but rather on a secure server. During payment, only a token, a sort of digital key, is transmitted. This doesn’t even require an internet connection. Another advantage: HCE meets the EMV standard and is fully compliant with PCI. This means merchants can continue to use their existing POS infrastructure without having to pay for an expensive retrofitting.