Will Payments Come Preloaded With Your Next PC?

A contactless payments reader in every PC? That’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, as chipmakers build NFC capabilities into more and more chips — and last week Broadcom announced a new microcontroller with NFC inside that’s specifically designed with PCs in mind, according to PC World.

The Broadcom BCM58100 chip, which the company said is designed for mobile payments terminals, PCs and home automation products, could make it practical for PC users to make an eCommerce payment by holding a smartphone or watch next to a PC or laptop, in basically the same way it’s done at a retailer’s point-of-sale (POS) terminal.

Because the chip is also intended for mobile POS devices, it’s designed to meet PCI and EMV requirements. It also uses Broadcom’s proprietary BroadSAFE architecture, which includes tamper protection and encryption along with secure storage and processing of both card information, and the security also can be used for biometric user data such as fingerprints and iris and facial recognition data, Broadcom said.

Building mPOS terminals into PCs wouldn’t provide much benefit for merchants, since even small retailers who use PCs as their POS devices are likely to add EMV and contactless capabilities with the next upgrade of their PIN pads (even if they don’t do it by the Oct. 1 EMV liability-shift deadline).

On the other hand, putting mPOS into every PC — or at least the vast majority of them — could help reduce one of the most feared consequences of that shift to EMV. That’s the likelihood that fraudsters will give up on using counterfeit mag stripe payment cards in stores and at ATMs, and will shift their efforts to eCommerce, where a 16-digit payment card number has no more security with EMV than it does today. (Even with EMV, card fraud is expected to double from about $3.1 billion now to more than $6.4 billion in 2018, according to Aite Group.)

But making it possible for home-PC eCommerce customers to scan contactless cards or devices would provide at least some of those EMV security benefits.

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