When Apple finally announced that they'd be joining the NFC game with their iPhone 6 announcement this week, there was a lot of mixed emotions flowing through the tech community at large. On the positive note many were happy that Apple finally jumped into the mobile payments game simply because it means that things will finally start taking off. It's pretty well known at this point that, although they aren't generally the first to do much of anything at all, when they finally do get around to it the industry listens. While this is unfortunate for many things like NFC, we're going to finally see this technology take off en masse. The disappointing thing that came out of the show, however, was what appeared to be some sort of proprietary tech in an agreement between all the major card players including Visa, American Express, MasterCard, et all.
This could have spelled some serious disaster for NFC as a form of payment, as having any proprietary non-standard method and restricting it to only a few devices would essentially kill any progress made for the platform. Thankfully the secure token service that was talked about at the conference is not a proprietary Apple Pay-only method of creating secure transactions, it's a Visa technology. Visa's Token Service is a process where the traditional credit or debit card number is replaced with a unique digital token that's specific to a device. This enhances security by not allowing the number to be used outside of the device paying physically, and features a number of other restrictions that can be put in place as well. This process was made standard in October 2013 when Visa, MasterCard and American Express agreed upon the standard and it's future implementation.
This service is going to be introduced in 2015 and is a fully global initiative, not restricted to just the US and Canada as many of these sorts of things seem to be. Right now it seems that all existing VisaNet endpoints are able to handle these tokenized transactions with just a simple configuration change, so once the service goes live everything should be seamless, and most importantly considerably more secure. The future is NFC payments, and now we're finally seeing the fruits of Google's labor when it introduced the NFC payment service all the way back in 2011. Check out Visa's FAQ page below for all the info if you want to read more about it.