Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/09/visa_paywave/
Visa approves wireless payment chip
Two phones approved to surf the payWave
Visa has approved a microSD card for proximity payments, slotted into the BlackBerry Bold or Samsung Galaxy S, paving the way for payWave transactions on a mobile phone.
Visa's approval doesn't mean the cards, which come from DeviceFidelity, will definitely be available, but it does mean a bank currently issuing Visa payWave cards now has the option to send customers a microSD card, as long as the customer has the right kind of mobile phone.
PayWave, in common with other proximity-payment mechanisms, requires two components – an induction-powered radio tag and a cryptographically-secure element for authentication. DeviceFidelity squeezes both bits into a microSD card, but getting radio signals in and out is very dependent on what surrounds the card. Where the slot is under the battery, or sandwiched between circuit boards within a metallic case, getting a signal out might be impossible, and not every phone has a microSD slot anyway.
For the iPhone, DeviceFidelity solves the problem with a snap-on case, but now Visa has tested the internal-chip solution on two of the most-popular handsets and reckons it is up to snuff in both security and reliability terms. Visa told NFC Times that both handsets performed reliably in repeated tests , and that it looked forward to approving other handsets soon.
Putting the antenna inside the phone isn't a perfect solution: though this would mean it would be much better integrated with the phone, as in Google's Nexus S handset. But that starts an argument over who controls the secure element, or who gets the keys. A microSD card puts the keys in the hands of the issuing bank, an arrangement which will be more comfortable to many of the financial institutions involved. ®