News Details

Visa to Enable Secure, Cloud-Based Mobile Payments

February 19, 2014

FOSTER CITY, Calif.--()--Visa today announced it is offering clients new options to securely deploy mobile payment programs, including for the first time an option to host Visa payWave-enabled accounts in a secure, virtual cloud. The move expands Visa’s support for mobile payments globally and will give financial institutions greater choice in offering consumers secure ways to pay with smartphones.

Visa’s support for cloud-based payments follows the introduction of a new feature in the Android mobile operating system called Host Card Emulation (HCE); HCE allows any NFC application on an Android device to emulate a smart card, letting users wave-to-pay with their smartphones, while permitting financial institutions to host payment accounts in a secure, virtual cloud.

“Our clients and partners around the globe are continuously looking for flexible, cost efficient and secure ways to enable mobile payments,” said Elizabeth Buse, Executive Vice President, Global Solutions, Visa Inc. “The Android HCE feature provides us with a platform to evolve the Visa payWave standard, support the development of secure, cloud-based mobile applications, while at the same time offer greater choice to our clients.”

According to data released by International Data Corporation in February 2014, 78 percent of smartphones sold in Q4 2013 run on the Android operating system, and Android is enjoying strong gains in markets outside the U.S., including in China and Latin America. Android also recently became the fastest platform to reach one billion users worldwide.

“The Android community continues to build innovative ways to improve the lives of mobile users. We introduced HCE to make it easier for developers to create NFC applications like mobile payments, loyalty programs, transit passes, and other custom services,” said Benjamin Poiesz, Google Android Product Manager. “Visa's move to enable NFC payments with Android devices is welcome news and will guide the way for the payments industry.”

Visa Ready for Cloud-Based Payment Applications

In addition to supporting clients who are hosting the Visa account data on secure elements in smartphones, Visa is extending the Visa Ready Program to also support financial institutions and partners who wish to securely deploy Visa accounts in the cloud. The program provides new standards, tools, services and implementation guidelines, and ensures that cloud-based applications with Visa payment functionality are compatible with Visa’s requirements and payment industry security standards. The program includes:

  • Standards: Visa has enhanced its contactless payment application, Visa payWave, and is introducing a new standard, requirements, program approval process and implementation guidelines to enable financial institutions to securely host Visa accounts in a virtual cloud. The initial Visa payWave standard for cloud-based deployment is available now. Future versions of the Visa payWave standard will add support for QR codes and in-app payments.
  • Tools: Visa is also developing a software development kit (SDK) to support clients who wish to develop their own cloud-based payment applications or want to enhance their existing mobile banking applications with Visa payWave functionality.
  • Services: Visa is developing a new service and platform, to enable clients and partners to issue Visa accounts digitally – in the cloud, on secure elements in smartphones, or linked to a digital wallet. The solution will also enable the issuance of payment tokens that will replace the 16-digit payment account number and can be limited for use with a specific device, payment channel or merchant.

Ensuring payment security is one of Visa’s highest priorities and security in cloud-based payments is no exception. Visa will deploy several layers of security to protect payment accounts in the cloud, including at the Visa network, application and hardware levels. One-time use data, real-time transaction analysis, payment tokens and device fingerprinting technology make up a multi-layered defense against unauthorized account access.

Additional Visa Client Quotes:

Visa clients in Australia, Canada and the U.S. are applauding Visa’s decision to enable cloud-based mobile payments. The following are supporting quotes by leading financial institutions:

“We're pleased to support Visa's announcement today, which is an important development in helping customers transact in a simple and secure way. Incorporating cloud-based NFC mobile payments with Visa payWave contributes to setting a level of market maturity that supports choice for the customer and uses existing merchant terminals,” said Marj Demmer, General Manager, Cards and Payments, ANZ.

“Today’s announcement from Visa will assist NAB in achieving its goal of secure account storage on the cloud, which will allow customers to shop online or in-store with their mobile device,” said Michael Starkey, General Manager, Channel Development, Digital and Direct Banking, National Australia Bank. “This is an exciting opportunity for NAB, and its partners, because it overcomes the limitations existing solutions that are currently in pilot, which house account information on the phone and limit NFC solutions to a small selection of Android devices as a result.”

“We believe Visa’s decision to enable cloud-based NFC payments is a critical step in providing clarity and certainty to our consumer and merchant clients of an innovative, easy and secure mobile payments solution,” said Linda Mantia, Executive Vice-President, Cards & Payment Solutions at RBC, Canada’s largest financial institution and considered a pioneer in cloud-based mobile solutions.

“Customers have migrated to their smartphone and we are at the doorstep of consumers migrating to mobile commerce in greater mass,” said Dominic Venturo, Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Bank Payment Services. “This new development, combined with the security benefits of tokenization, is an important step for the industry because it enables an open, scalable approach for issuers like U.S. Bank to provide customers with a secure way to make contactless payment using their Android-based phones.”

Briefing for press only at Mobile World Congress 2014:

Monday, February 24th at 12:00 – 01:00 pm CET, Visa will host a panel of clients and industry partners to discuss cloud-based payments at its exhibition booth (Hall 6, 6D40). The 60-minute event will be streamed live through the following link:

For more information, please contact

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 47,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead of time with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit and @VisaNews.

About Visa Europe

Visa Europe is a payments technology business owned and operated by member banks and other payment service providers from 37 countries across Europe.

Visa Europe works at the forefront of technology to create the services and infrastructure which enable millions of European consumers, businesses and governments to make electronic payments. Its members are responsible for issuing cards, signing up retailers and deciding cardholder and retailer fees.

Visa Europe operates a high volume, low cost business model that provides services to its members. Its surplus is reinvested into the business and used to improve capital and reserves.

There are 500m Visa cards in Europe, while €1 in every €6.50 spent in Europe is on a Visa card. In the year to September 2013, total expenditure on Visa cards reached €2 trillion, while point-of-sale spend increased by 8.5% to €1.4 trillion. Annual online spending on Visa cards continues to grow (20% year-on-year) and now stands at €240bn.

Since 2004, Visa Europe has been independent of Visa Inc. and incorporated in the UK, with an exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licence in Europe. Both companies work in partnership to enable global Visa payments. As a dedicated European payment system Visa Europe is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of European banks and their customers - cardholders and retailers - and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments. For more information, please visit


Visa Inc.
Elvira Swanson, +1-650-504-4537
Visa Inc. Asia Pacific
Angela Parr, +65 66715388
Visa Inc. Canada
Michelle Michalak, +1-416-860-8895
Visa Inc. Central Europe, Middle East and Africa
Monica Barten, +65 66715709
Visa Europe
Eleanor Orebi, +44 7435 764 482