Mobile Commerce

PayPal Rethinks NFC to Enhance Security

The company isn’t planning on any initiatives anytime soon, however, the company president does believe that they are becoming less skeptic about NFC.

PayPal which once called NFC “Not for Commerce” has started to rethink its position now that the host card emulation (HCE) has been released.

“I’m moving from being a massive skeptic of NFC, to being cautiously optimistic on NFC HCE take-up in very specific shopping use cases,” company president David Marcus told NFC World.

The company has been looking at three technologies to watch “that could change retail”. He picked Bluetooth Low Energy, smart watches and other wearable devices, and NFC with HCE.

Marcus continued to say that he was fine with NFC because it provided a secure element to payments. However, what he did not like was how many were fighting over control of it, because it was assumed that the entity that controls it becomes the toll master for every transaction that takes place.

“But something changed late last year. The Android team at Google started supporting and pushing another standard (not exclusively for payments) called NFC HCE, or host card emulation,” Marcus told NFC World. “The beauty with this move is that it doesn’t require the whole industry fighting over control for the secure element.”

Last year, the Android team approached PayPal with an HCE initiative and to collect feedback on implementation.

“For the first time ever, I saw a glimmer of hope for NFC in some shopping configurations,” he said.

Marcus isn’t saying that the company will start any initiatives anytime soon, however, his is warming up to NFC HCE.

“I still passionately believe that paying hands-free through a BLE beacon and notifying the merchant you’re in the store through that method will enable more transformative experiences for consumers and retailers alike,” he said.


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The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.

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