The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has established a Web Payments Working Group to develop a set of standardised APIs to help streamline the online checkout experience and make payments more secure.
The proposed standards will support a wide array of existing and future payment methods, including debit, credit, mobile payment systems, escrow, and bitcoin and other distributed ledger technologies.
The Consortium says the APIs will allow users to register payment instruments and select the right payment type through the browser, making payments easier to manage, particularly on mobile devices. The standards should also enable Web developers to more readily integrate existing and new payment flows into their applications.
"The industry has looked to digital wallets as a way to improve security and usability, as well as to support marketing initiatives. And yet, users have not yet wholeheartedly embraced them," says W3C CEO Dr. Jeff Jaffe. "We believe that one reason for this is that the digital wallet market is fragmented and providers use incompatible programming interfaces. The proposed standards from W3C will help ensure interoperability of different solutions by standardising the programming interfaces. So when you buy something, you should have a standard way to match the payment instruments you have with the ones accepted by the merchant, in a way that integrates smoothly with the merchant's checkout flow."
The charter for the Working Group was drafted by the W3C Web Payments Interest Group, whose participants include technical representatives from banks, payment service providers, merchants, browser makers, hardware providers, and other industry stakeholders. The Group will meet face-to-face for the first time during W3C's Technical Plenary week under the leadership of co-chairs Adrian Hope-Bailie from Ripple and Worldpay's Nick Telford-Reed.
“It is challenging today for merchants to offer new payment options to consumers because of the many proprietary solutions and number of different APIs that they have to deal with," says Mark Horwedel, CEO, Merchant Advisory Group (MAG). "Open standards from W3C will help payment providers and merchants lower costs of payment management, improve consumer choice and transparency, and create new opportunities to introduce value-added services. These standard APIs will also give us a foundation for future Web payments capabilities.”