BBVA has become the first bank to launch a commercial NFC payments service that makes use of Visa’s cloud-based payments specifications. Customers in Spain with an Android NFC handset can use host card emulation (HCE) to make contactless payments today and the service will be extended to customers in the US, Mexico and Chile later this year.
“BBVA Wallet, which already has more than 200,000 users, operates in an integrated way on any latest-generation Android phone equipped with NFC technology,” the bank says. Customers with a mobile phone running Android 4.4 or later need only download the latest version of the BBVA Wallet app to begin making NFC payments. The bank is also making contactless stickers available to customers without a suitable mobile phone.
As well as contactless payments, the BBVA Wallet app also provides customers with instant notifications for each transaction made, finance options for purchases, discounts and offers.
“Our employees and some of our customers, who are the most active users of BBVA Wallet in Spain, are already using this latest technology that gives BBVA the opportunity to offer our millions of customers worldwide an incredibly simple and intuitive way to start using their phone for contactless payments,” says Mehmet Sezgin, the bank’s global payment systems director.
“Our goal is for BBVA Wallet to become a product that is carried by and used by our customers across all the geographical areas in which we operate.”
“The international expansion of BBVA Wallet has been possible through Visa’s cloud based payments specification, part of which incorporates the use of host card emulation (HCE) technology,” the bank explains. “Cloud-based payments enable in-store payment transactions using secure data held within the banks ‘cloud-based’ systems, as opposed to relying on a hardware-based secure element.
“This means that the payment apps can run independently of the operator providing the telephony service, resulting in a qualitative improvement of the customer’s experience, as there will be no need to replace the SIM card.”
“The banking industry has recognized the demand for mobile payments from customers across Europe,” says Jeremy Nicholds, executive director for mobile at Visa Europe. “Mobile offers a faster way to make secure payments and also has the potential to integrate with other forms of mobile banking functionality, supporting better money management.
“Cloud-based payments and HCE functionality is helping improve the time to market for banks looking to offer mobile contactless to their customers, while broadening the accessibility for consumers.”