Visa said it will provide app developers with a complete service, with card information stored on Visa’s servers.
MasterCard said it will publish technical details by the end of June to help companies use the new Android feature, known as Host Card Emulation. MasterCard said it has been testing the technology with two major banks, Capital One in the U.S. and Banco Sabadell in Europe.
“The use of HCE provides a very attractive way forward to launch an increased number of NFC-based offerings,” said James Anderson, MasterCard’s group head for emerging payments, said in a statement.
Visa and MasterCard are both targeting phones that have a wireless technology called near-field communication. Many Android phones have that, and the remote storage capabilities come with the Kit Kat version of Android, which was released last fall. Apple’s iPhones lack NFC, but cases are available to enable that technology.
Visa said it will make tools available for app developers to incorporate payment capabilities. The customer can then use a smartphone instead of a plastic credit card at stores, transit systems and other places that accept contact-less payments.
The hope is to encourage greater use of contact-less payments, which experts say offer more security protections than plastic. The card number is stored in encrypted form and can be easily disabled remotely if a phone is lost or stolen. Mobile systems also permit easier use of one-time card numbers, which won’t work for additional transactions and are useless should a merchant’s computers get hacked.