News & Views - Savantor

Future mobile payment infrastructure

Sunday, 09 March 2014
Google Wallet will drop support for secure element based NFC payments from 14th April 2014. NFC payments in Google Wallet will now only be supported by Android v4.4+ devices and will use HCE rather than the secure element in the device. From Google's perspective, moving to HCE makes a lot of sense, but as a supplier of one of the key pieces of infrastructure required for mobile payments (the mobile device operating system), it could be viewed that with the move to HCE on Google Wallet they are diluting their own vested interest in supporting the secure element at all. Far-fetched maybe – secure element remains supported in Android, just not for Google Wallet – but it does highlight the point that in a future shift towards mobile, control of the payment infrastructure is being taken increasingly out of the hands of organisations that care primarily about payments and put into the hands of technology companies with different drivers. We are used to payment infrastructure being delivered within the industry, driven by a central body. Mobile payments, however, seem to have an absolute reliance on consumer interaction with 3rd party technology. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out but it does leave at least a slightly uneasy feeling in the air.
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