Spain’s BBVA has launched a service based on Visa’s freshly minted cloud-based specification for NFC mobile payments which uses host card emulation (HCE) technology.
Those of the bank’s customers who are equipped with Android NFC-based smartphones can download a new version of the BBVA Wallet app and then make contactless payments in locations such as shops and cafes.
The wallet update will be made available to customers in the US, Mexico and Chile later this year. The international expansion is possible because secure data is held in the cloud as opposed to relying on a secure element in the handset, said BBVA.
Without HCE, the bank would require a deal on the ground with an operator and the replacement of the SIM card in a smartphone.
BBVA claims to be the first bank to implement HCE-based technology on a commercial basis. At the end of May, Russia’s Sberbank said it planned to launch a HCE-based service later this year.
Visa and MasterCard jointly announced earlier this year they were working on a standard for HCE.
However, the current announcement somewhat plays down the role of HCE and talks up Visa’s own cloud-based system.
“The international expansion of BBVA Wallet has been possible through Visa’s Cloud based payments specification, part of which incorporates the use of Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology,” it said.
BBVA has over 200,000 users of its wallet app. The update is already being used by its employees and some users.