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PayPal Reconsiders NFC Due to HCE

PayPal, Anuj Nayar, Payments Insider, David Marcus, HCE, NFC, Host Card Emulation

HCE seems to be the new and ‘exciting’ prospect PayPal has been waiting for in NFC

PayPal has never been extremely active in the NFC environment, even trying to push its own Bluetooth Low Energy alternative, PayPal Beacon. However, in a surprising reversal, the digital payments company looks like it could well embrace NFC technology thanks to the advent of Host Card Emulation.

PayPal CEO David Marcus dismissed the technology as “technology for the sake of technology”. But now PayPal’s director of global initiatives, Anuj Nayar, has said in an interview to Payments Insider that the company is now “taking a look at it.”

Marcus has even gone to the extent of writing a blog post about the future of payment technologies, looking at NFC HCE he says that it’s “designed and embraced by companies thinking about their own interests rather than solving a problem for consumers.” But, a little later on he admits that he’s “cautiously optimistic on NFC HCE take-up in very specific shopping use cases.” Although, he’s still a believer that a BLE beacon payments system is the future.

So why the change of heart then? Well, since Google Wallet made some quite tempting moves in the NFC HCE space thanks to Android 4.4 Kit Kat’s integration with it and the widespread rollout of Gmail and Google Wallet payments, PayPal will surely want to catch up with the impossibly large potential customer base that Google Wallet could now have.

Also, thanks to HCE’s ability to bypass a “secure element” and thus the mobile carrier’s ability to regulate and block payments, PayPal has far more freedom in the NFC space than ever before – a tempting prospect for any payments company.

One attraction of NFC is just how quick and easy it would be for PayPal to create a contactless solution. Speaking to Payments Insider Nayar said that “if [NFC] gains traction, [PayPal] could turn it on pretty easily.”

 

[Image:  Franck Schneider - Flickr]

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