Visa and MasterCard are introducing Internet-based technologies to make it easier for shoppers to buy things at retail stores without pulling out a credit card. The two technologies, announced separately on Wednesday, will give merchants and banks more options for incorporating so-called contact-less payment systems into their mobile apps. The customer uses the app to make purchases by tapping the phone to a store’s card reader.
Both Visa and Mastercard on Wednesday announced upgrades to their point-of-sale mobile payments platforms that take advantage of new capabilities in Android’s latest OS update called KitKat. Riding off changes made to Android 4.4 designed to further Google’s digital wallet ambitions, Visa and Mastercard are able to get around a problem that has hobbled contactless payments in the smartphone. The issue is the secure element in an NFC smart card that verifies the owners identity. More often than not that element controlled by the mobile operator. That control of the smart card has allowed Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile to keep out NFC payment options like Google Wallet that would compete with Isis.