Spanish bank BBVA has announced the launch of the first NFC (near field communications) payments option based on new cloud-based specifications from Visa.
The new system means that any BBVA customers with an NFC-enabled Android device will now be able to make contactless purchases by simply downloading an updated version of the BBVA Wallet app.
Currently available in Spain, where BBVA Wallet has over 200,000 users, the service will be extended to customers in the US, Mexico and Chile later this year, making it one of the biggest rollouts of its kind so far.
BBVA’s solution is the first to include Host Card Emulation (HCE) technology, which was introduced by Google as part of its Android operating system in an effort to make processing NFC payments quicker and easier.
"The banking industry has recognised the demand for mobile payments from customers across Europe," said Jeremy Nicholds, Visa Europe’s executive director for mobile.
"Mobile offers a faster way to make secure payments and also has the potential to integrate with other forms of mobile banking functionality, supporting better money management. Cloud-based payments using the HCE technology are helping improve the time to market for banks looking to offer mobile contactless to their customers, while broadening the accessibility for consumers."
Visa says there are around 500m of its cards currently in operation across 37 European countries, and that total expenditure on Visa cards reached €2 trillion last year, the equivalent of €1 in every €6.50 spent in Europe. UK spending reached a total of £445bn in 2013, a 9.2% rise on the previous year.
As well as its work with BBVA, Visa has worked with a range of leading financial and technology institutions to ensure that NFC-enabled HCE payments meet the its tough security requirements.
Mehmet Sezgin, BBVA Global Payment Channels director said: "Our early trials have shown us that this latest technology gives BBVA the opportunity to offer our millions of customers worldwide an incredibly simple and intuitive means to start using their phone for contactless payments – all they need to do is update the app."
As well as contactless payments, the BBVA Wallet app also provides customers with instant notifications for each transaction made, as well as finance options for purchases, discounts and offers.
Last November, Visa launched its own V.me digital wallet in the UK in collaboration with Nationwide. V.me allows customers to upload their details into a single digital wallet, which can be used to make future purchases without entering the same card details every time they make purchases.
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