Mobile wallets utilizing Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology for contactless point-of-sale payments have been around since 2011 but have yet to really catch on. While Google Wallet and others rely on NFC to communicate with compatible payment terminals the mobile carriers have been restrictive on allowing these apps to access the Secure Element where payment credentials are stored. Host Card Emulation circumvents this issue, meaning Google Wallet and other mobile NFC contactless payment applications may soon be available on a lot more devices.
The inability for many consumers to be able to pay with the credit and debit cards they already have, on the mobile devices they already have, and with the mobile wallet application they want to use has undoubtedly slowed consumer adoption of mobile contactless payments. But Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology, which is now available on nearly 250 million Android devices worldwide, can change this by eliminating the need for carrier participation.