Wirecard Has Much to Prove with Prototype HCE Wristband, but ‘Smart Band’ Wearable a Market First

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – Germany-based white-label payments software and prepaid payments services provider Wirecard is not taking sides in the debate between SIM-based mobile payments and HCE, despite its recent launch of the first wearable device to support HCE, executive vice president Joern Leogrande told NFC Times.

That wearable, an NFC- and HCE-enabled wristband the company calls the Wirecard Smart Band, is still a prototype. But Leogrande told NFC Times he believes that it will help prove that using HCE “significantly lowers the barrier of entry, as no secure element, costs, and complexities are involved.” Wirecard, however, insists it is not promoting HCE as a replacement for secure elements, according to Leogrande. “As a white-label provider of payment technologies, we believe in technological coexistence with regard to NFC payments–whether it’s SIM-based, embedded secure elements, or HCE.”

The new wristband would still need to be certified by the payment schemes before any commercial launch, Susanne Steidl, managing director of Wirecard acquiring and issuing, told NFC Times. She said that the implementation complies with the specifications for HCE from both Visa and MasterCard, however.

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