5 Alternate Uses for Host Card Emulation (HCE)

In Host Card Emulation, Insights, Loyalty and Rewards, Mobile Solutions by Salim Dhanani

As more and more of us use our NFC chip cards to make small contactless payments on the fly, it’s easier than ever to imagine using mobile HCE technology for many other functions in our daily lives.

Your mobile phone isn’t just a cash-replacement, it’s a wallet-replacement. Your wallet has a wide variety of functionality beyond cash and credit cards. Just because there are limitations on cards, doesn’t mean those same constraints apply when they’re emulated on smartphones.For banks, the beauty of HCE is owning the mobile wallet and the data therein. A payment card alone gives valuable customer insights on purchase habits, but there are limits to that data. Add loyalty and access, and suddenly you have a wealth of information that will not only help you spot trends, but also help you create personalized value for your customer. Which means increased use and better customer retention.As you think about your mobile payment program, here are 5 other valuable tools to enhance an HCE wallet:

1. Identification
We never leave the house without ID, but in its current form, ID is limited to the constraints of a piece of plastic—it offers no more data than the details screenprinted on the surface. In an HCE wallet, ID can contain essential biometric data, geolocation or medical information—in the case of an accident, it provides valuable efficiencies for law enforcement or medical personnel.

2. Loyalty programs
If I step out to pick up toothpaste and have to choose between Boots and Superdrug, I’ll choose the one whose loyalty program is always on hand and offers me the best rewards. Loyalty programs are all about consumer data, and adding that functionality to a mobile wallet should be a no-brainer. It means consumers always have their loyalty cards on-hand—ensuring cards get used more and companies get better customer insights.

3. Real-time personalized advertising
In the daily barrage of marketing messages, effective advertising must be highly relevant—just the right product at just the right moment. If my favourite neighbourhood coffee shop is having a quiet afternoon and I’m within a 500m radius, they can push me a deal right when I hit that 3pm wall. You better believe I’ll take advantage of it. HCE lets business deliver perfectly timed promotions, based on actual personal habits and preferences.

4. Keycards
As a city-dweller I get by just fine without a car thanks to car-share programs like Zipcar and Car2Go, but my wallet gets fat with access cards. I hate fishing around for them at the beginning and end of my journey, not to mention having to fiddle around with the gas card when needing to fill-up. Having that access card built into a mobile wallet simplifies the commute.

The same could be said for access to your condo or garage door—you never have to worry about getting locked out when you dash out to grab emergency toilet paper.

5. Public transport
In London we’re already feeling the benefits of contactless payments for public transport. Combine that existing payment technology with the convenience of using a mobile, and it might be the greatest advance since the invention of subways.

It’s a fact that large scale HCE adoption can be slow, but when you turn a mobile phone from just a payment tool into a life tool, the switch is a breeze for customers.