SimplyTapp closes funding round to push HCE-based NFC payments

SimplyTapp closes funding round to push HCE-based NFC payments

SimplyTapp, the US start-up which says it created the 'Host Card Emulation' (HCE) approach to mobile NFC payments recently embraced by Google, has raised its series a funding round.

Founded in 2011, SimplyTapp developed HCE as a way to bypass the network operator-controlled Secure Element, storing sensitive user data in the cloud rather than the handsets' SIM cards.

The firm has over 100 developers using its SDK tools and has partnered and deployed with a global bank - believed to be Royal Bank of Canada.

The technology got a massive boost earlier this month when Google decided to use HCE within Android 4.4 KitKat for secure NFC-based transactions - helping it bypass the telcos which had held back the search giant's Wallet service.

SimplyTapp has now scored an unspecified amount of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and existing investor Blue Sky Capital as it bids to take advantage of the HCE hype and "revolutionise" mobile payments

Tim Danford, Lightspeed Venture Partners, says: "The SimplyTapp team will bring secure open innovation to developers and issuers that have been dominated by complexity. HCE is getting significant interest, I'm looking forward to working with the team to build a market leading company."

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 November, 2013, 13:50Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting space to watch, but the major obstacle would be the lack of widespread contactless / NFC acceptance across the physical POS locations.

I believe that the main reason for that is that the transaction processing economics of traditional credit / debit rails are not allowing reduction of txn fees for the low value payments, where the NFC should be used primarily.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 29 November, 2013, 09:24Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I think it depends on the maturity of the market.  The UK, for example, has quite a high number of Contactless-enabled POS devices.  Unfortunately the Issuers have not embraced a rapid roll-out.  I know most major ATM and POS Device Manufacturers are including Contactless enabled readers on all their modern offerings.

I still have concerns over how HCE claims to be a "Secure Solution" without using a SE (I know it is a deployment option detailed in the KitKat API Spec but it will hit the existing issues of the SE turf war).  NFC without exploiting a SE is akin to NFC Magstripe in my opinion (albeit it will look on paper like a dialogue with an EMV ICC using C-APDU and R-APDU).

Still a step towards a (more) mobile future hopefully.