Host Card Emulation: Why Does It Matter?

Marc Castrechini

September 16, 2014

An explanation of host card emulation (HCE) first requires a brief overview of near-field communications. Near-field communications, or NFC, requires a mobile device to have the necessary hardware installed, which could be in the form of a SIM card or NFC chipset installed directly in the device. This hardware element is responsible for performing certain security tasks, such as authentication and communication to a reader. NFC requires cooperation from and collaboration with carriers, and the hardware must be compatible with the payment system selected by the carrier. Host card emulation eliminates the need for hardware special security module within the phone, often called the secure element. Instead, it basically creates a virtual representation of a card that resides in the cloud....

How to Fund a Mobile Wallet

Marc Castrechini

October 3, 2013

Mobile wallet apps are proliferating like crazy today as every developer seeks to grab a slice of the consumer pie. Of course, building a mobile wallet app is easier said than done. There are plenty of hurdles -- in the form of security concerns and regulations -- that developers need to clear in order to succeed, and there is plenty of argument about the best way to fund a mobile wallet.  From my point of view, there are four primary options for developers to consider as they decide how to fund a mobile wallet. Each of these options has their distinct advantages and drawbacks, as I’ll outline below. The option a developer selects depends on both the customer base and company goals. But before you make a decision, it’s vital that all options are explored.   1. Direct Bank...

EMV – Merchant Benefits Beyond Security

Marc Castrechini

August 20, 2013

As the US payments space continues its evolution to EMV for brick and mortar merchants (card-present transactions), ATMs and fuel stations, there are additional opportunities for payment processors, point-of-sale (POS) developers and merchants to leverage EMV. While enhanced security has been at the forefront of in terms of a primary driver of EMV, there are additional values for the merchant that also support adoption of and migration to EMV. Originally, network stability was a significant concern overseas. Support for this feature wherein the authorization occurs locally to the device and card was a must have to ensure transactions could be processed regardless of network availability. The US, however, has depended, except in rare scenarios, on a live authentication network...

The Emergence & Implications of EMV

Marc Castrechini

October 12, 2012

EMV is the global standard for credit and debit cards based on embedded chip card technology developed by Europay, MasterCard and Visa. Recent announcements made by MasterCard and Visa are aimed at accelerating the adoption of EMV technology in the United States. This leaves merchants and payment professionals with questions on how this will affect their businesses.  In this white paper, Marc Castrechini, Director of Software Development, provides an overview of EMV, the timing behind the movement, the benefits of EMV, potential migration processes, and discusses what steps merchants and payment professionals will need to take in order to prepare.Download the Whitepaper Today

Mobile Payments and Consumer Security Concerns

Marc Castrechini

August 29, 2012

Security breaches continue to impact American consumers. Whether it’s credit card fraud, the hacking of a major national retailer, or compromised social network passwords, security of personal information is an ongoing concern. It’s estimated that more than 30 percent of Americans have been victims of bankcard fraud in the past five years. Some experts believe that the longer U.S. consumers rely on the antiquated technologies inherent to today’s credit and debit cards; fraud incidence will continue to rise. Some new mobile payment technologies have been proven to be more secure than the magnetic stripe technology used with existing credit and debit cards because they are based on EMV, which is widely used in Europe. However, payment types such as these are just preparing to enter the U.S...

What is EMV?

Marc Castrechini

July 18, 2012

EMV is the global card technology of choice and it’s coming to the U.S. There are an estimated 1.5 billion EMV cards worldwide and 21 million EMV terminals. Coupled with card adoption rates averaging 44.7 percent and terminal adoption rates at 76.4 percent, EMV’s global dominance is uncontested.  EMV is defined by EMVCo as, “a global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology”. Originated in the early 1990s, EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. Sometimes referred to as Chip and PIN, EMV offers several cardholder verification methods. We expect to see both Chip and PIN and Chip and Signature in the U.S. market by 2013. With EMV, when the card is scanned at the merchant there are two data parts for authorization. The primary account number (PAN...

What is NFC?

Marc Castrechini

July 5, 2012

Industry analysts predict that 50 percent of smartphones will be NFC (near-field communication) enabled by 2015. In that same year, it’s anticipated that NFC-facilitated transactions will reach US$74 billion. Last year, 30 million NFC-enabled handsets, from leading manufacturers including LG, Nokia, Samsung, and SONY shipped worldwide and Apple is rumored to be including NFC in the forthcoming iPhone 5. Without a doubt, NFC is gaining traction as a leading technology in mobile payments. NFC enabled smartphones feature self-contained microchips that facilitate wireless information transmission when in close proximity to a contactless terminal or customer engagement device. Mobile wallet providers, such as Google and ISIS leverage NFC for in-store payment transactions. Only time will tell...