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HCE:支付无线 “钱景”无限

一些业内人士一直不太看好将NFC手机钱包当作一种可行的移动支付方案。现在出现了一种新技术,可以实现银行卡数据由手机终端到远程存储的转换,这相当于消除了NFC钱包的最大缺憾,使得后者的大众吸引力大幅上升,预计又将大幅提升NFC电子钱包的市场占有率。

主卡仿真(HCE)使得现在的NFC支付系统比以前更开放。开发人员可以直接把NFC的移动支付功能添加到应用程序上,而无需保证与手机内的硬件一体化。从银行到快餐运营商,再到到零售连锁店,越来越多的商家现在可以轻松地利用其庞大的用户群和消费者的信任,把NFC支付集成到他们现有的移动应用程序中去,并成为店内移动支付的全球竞争者。

从前,NFC支付要想存储银行卡详细信息、数字优惠券或积分程序信息,就只能通过手机上的物理安全元件(内置于手机SIM卡)或者外置的microSD卡添加。这种情况下,移动网络运营商就变成了手机安全元件的把关人,这无疑给移动钱包带来额外的麻烦。除了要获得运营商的批准,手机钱包使用者租赁安全元件的花销也不是一笔小数目。

许多电子钱包都深陷此类困境,最出名的应该就是谷歌钱包了。谷歌钱包在美国市场面市时,只获得Sprint无线网络一家的支持。美国其他主要的无线运营商,包括Verizon,AT&T和T-Mobile,都阻止谷歌钱包访问其网络设备的安全元件,因为他们使用的ISIS支付系统很有可能和谷歌钱包形成竞争。

有了这样的前车之鉴,手机支付企业开始寻找短期替代品,比如二维码手机支付系统,这样的话各种数据就能够进行云储存而不再依赖手机终端。二维码支付系统可以在任何智能手机上运行,而NFC系统则必须要求消费者的手机具备NFC功能。直到最近,移动支付还必须在这两种方法之间做出选择,但HCE的到来改变了一切。

HCE能够使任何支持NFC技术的手机上的应用程序直接与非接触式支付终端联通,并可以模拟非接触卡和芯片卡。消费者的手机上无需具备芯片卡,帐户信息都会以指令形式存在在云端。基本上,HCE是通过安全的虚拟云端来存储和传送支付卡信息的。这项技术不再将个人财款信息储存在手机终端,这可能会减少消费者对手机丢失或被盗后的担忧。

HCE给NFC注入了新的生机。去年十一月谷歌推出最新操作系统KitKat时,首次在手机上启用了此功能。黑莓也支持这一技术。二月底,Visa和万事达卡宣布了使用HCE的NFC手机移动支付的新规格。万事达卡已经在美国的第一资本、西班牙的萨瓦德尔银行使用了该项新技术,并计划在今年年中发布HCE的细则。Visa稍稍领先,因为它已经颁布了相关的的市场细则。目前它也在试运行这项技术,将与几个不愿透露姓名的发行人一起支持其Visa payWave技术。最近的巴塞罗那世界移动通信大会上各方声音此起彼伏,其中Visa和MasterCard对HCE的认证许可可能会对移动支付领域产生最大最持久的影响。

支持NFC的智能手机和非接触式功能的POS终端的数量持续上升,所以这些声明看起来正合时宜。虽然NFC的推广有些缓慢,但据手机相关公司协会GSMA报道,如今市场上已经有324个带有NFC功能的手机型号了。当然,苹果iOS设备还不直接支持NFC ,但各大厂商正在努力提供解决方案让iPhone手机支持这一技术。此外,两大的国际支付网络的认证可能将成为NFC移动支付的拐点,因为它可能会吸引更多支付商投资,或者更多应用程序开发人员参与其中。这两者都可能会帮助扩大移动支付规模,增加NFC手机支付的大众认可度。

总而言之, HCE为移动支付的未来奠定了基础,同时找回了市场对NFC移动支付的兴趣。HCE建立在一个开放的架构上,它不仅使支付也使其他的NFC服务,包括客户积分计划、楼宇门禁和过境通行证等,无需使用安全元件就能交付。虽然将来也会出现其他的移动支付方式,但目前看来,NFC无疑是即时连接消费者手机和商家的POS终端进行支付,以及进行其他通讯如积分活动等方面最有效的技术。HCE将在短时间内使许多的企业推出更多具有NFC功能的手机钱包。与过去的那些技术相比,HCE提供了一个简单廉价的方法来建立NFC驱动的移动支付架构。随着时间的推移,第三方支付公司可能会将HCE的到来作为移动支付成为主流支付方式的拐点。

NFC mobile wallets had been disregarded by some in the industry as a viable mobile payment option, but they got a boost with the arrival of a technology that will enable the card data to be stored remotely instead of within a phone. This slight change makes NFC mobile wallets increasingly more attractive as it eliminates one of its biggest stumbling blocks to adoption.

Thanks to host card emulation (HCE), the NFC payment ecosystem is now more open than it has ever been in the past. This means that developers can add NFC-based mobile payment functionality to apps without having approval to integrate it within the phone’s hardware. A wide range of businesses—from banks to fast-food operators to retail chains—can now easily leverage their sizeable user base and consumer trust to integrate NFC payments into their existing mobile apps and become contenders in the world of in-store mobile payments.

Traditionally, NFC-based payments had to store the card details, digital coupons or loyalty programme information on either the physical secure element on the phone, located within the SIM card embedded deep into the handset or added to the device via an external microSD card. This requirement created additional hurdles for mobile wallets because it established mobile network operators as the gatekeepers of the phone’s secure element. Besides having to gain approval from these players, it also could cost mobile wallet entrants a pretty penny to rent space on the secure element.

One of the most well-known mobile wallets that struggled due to these requirements is the Google Wallet. When the Google Wallet came to the US market, it was only supported by the Sprint wireless network. The other major US wireless carriers, including Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, prevented the app  from being able to access the secure element on its network devices as those three were behind the competing Isis mobile wallet.

In light of such hurdles, mobile payment players began to look for near-term alternatives, such as QR code-based mobile payment systems that store payment information in the cloud instead of the handset. A QR code-based system can be executed on any smartphone, as opposed to an NFC-based system that requires consumers to have an NFC-enabled phone. Up until recently, mobile payments had to choose between these two approaches, but that changed with the arrival of HCE.

HCE enables apps installed on any NFC-enabled handset the ability to communicate directly with contactless payment terminals and emulate both contactless and EMV cards. The consumer does not need an EMV chip on the phone as the account information is hosted in the form of a token in the cloud. Basically, HCE stores and transmits payment card information via a secure, virtual cloud. This technology removes payment credentials from the handset, which could lessen consumer fears as to what happens if the phone was lost or stolen.

HCE is breathing new life into NFC. Google first enabled this functionality on its phones when it rolled out its latest operating system dubbed KitKat in November. Blackberry also supports this technology. In late February, both Visa and MasterCard announced new specifications for NFC mobile payments using HCE. MasterCard had piloted the technology with Capital One in the US and Banco Sabadell in Spain and plans to issue its specifications for HCE by mid-year. Visa is slightly ahead in that its specifications are already available. It also is trialing the technology that will support its Visa payWave technology with several unnamed issuers. Although there were numerous announcements at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the certification of HCE by Visa and MasterCard is likely to have the greatest lasting impact on the mobile payments space.

These announcements are timely given that the number of NFC-enabled smartphones and contactless-enabled POS terminals continue to rise in popularity. Although NFC deployment has been somewhat slow, there are now 324 NFC-enabled handset models on the market today, according to GSMA, the association of mobile-related companies. Of course, Apple iOS devices do not yet directly support NFC, though various vendors offer sleeves to enable iPhones to support this technology. Furthermore, certification by two of the largest international payment networks could be the inflection point in the NFC mobile payments drive as it will likely lead to more investment in this technology from other payment players and greater interest from app developers. Both could lead to greater scale and enable widespread adoption of NFC mobile payment apps.

Ultimately, HCE could lay the groundwork for the future of mobile payments and—at the same time--rekindle interest in NFC-enabled mobile payments. Given that HCE is built on an open architecture, it not only enables payments, but also other NFC services, including loyalty programs, building access and transit passes to be delivered without the use of the secure element. Although there are certainly other technologies vying to be the one to execute mobile payments of the future, the reality is that NFC is the most effective technology out there for instantly connecting a consumer’s phone to a merchant’s POS terminal to execute payment as well as communicate other information such as loyalty initiatives. HCE will make it feasible for a wide range of businesses to launch more NFC-enabled mobile wallets and do so in a shorter timeframe. HCE offers a less complex and expensive route to establishing a NFC-driven mobile payment infrastructure compared to what previously existed. In time, payment players may reflect upon the arrival of HCE as the inflection point that launched mobile payments into a mainstream payment option.


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