At Verizon Ventures, we have been keeping a close eye on the mobile payment space, which has been rapidly evolving over the past year. One of the developments we’re watching is Host Card Emulation (HCE). If you’re not familiar, HCE can play a significant role in credential management with payments, offering the ability to create exact virtual representations of various electronic identity cards using only software. HCE may set the stage for a cloud-based credential management platform that could serve a host of diverse applications such as mobile payments, ticketing, and hospitality among others where any party can create a Near Field Communication (NFC) credential for the mobile device.
Today, we’re proud to announce our latest investment in SimplyTapp, an Austin-based provider of HCE technology for Android developers. SimplyTapp has been pioneering the use of HCE technologies by allowing developers to leverage mobile devices for proximity payments using software integration and with no dependencies on hardware. According to SimplyTapp co-founder Ted Fifelski, “Through HCE, we were able to give developers access to the tools needed to create a secure, scalable mobile transaction platform that enables a truly outstanding user experience.”
Since 2011, Fifelski and his team have been fostering a more open and consumer-friendly payment environment with their HCE and NFC payment platform, and their technology has implications for several industry segments, including:
- Banking: Card-issuing institutions use SimplyTapp to equip their mobile apps with NFC HCE capabilities, delivering an integrated, customized payment experience for their customers without relying on the non-issuer-controlled secure element.
- Retail: The SimplyTapp platform supports gift cards and private-label cards for retailers, providing them with a secure environment to accept payment at the point-of-sale while integrating with any existing loyalty programs.
- Transit: With SimplyTapp’scard virtualization, transportation organizations can enable easy one-to-one access for passengers.
- Ticketing: From airline ticketing to concerts and sporting events, SimplyTapp’s technology can distribute tickets instantly and securely to end users’ mobile devices.
- Hospitality: Hotel guests can enjoy faster check-in at contactless readers in the lobby and proceed straight to their rooms with keyless door access.
As we look towards the future of a connected society, we’re excited to support SimplyTapp as it expands its capabilities in allowing mobile devices to exchange sensitive data securely across both physical and virtual environments.