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W3C Starts Web Payments Standards Work to Streamline the Online "Check-out" Process

Consumers and merchants to enjoy greater choice, security and simplicity in Web payments



21 October 2015 — The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) launched today the Web Payments Working Group to help streamline the online "check-out" process and make payments easier and more secure on the Web.

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. Standardized APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) will establish a foundation for simplified checkout and payment experience, greater transaction security, automated secure payments, and more payment options for merchants and users alike. These APIs will allow users to register payment instruments (such as credit cards or payment services) and select the right payment type through the browser, making payments faster, more secure, and easier, particularly on mobile devices. The standards should also make it easier for Web developers to 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," said 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 standardizing 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."

Research from companies such as Business Insider confirms the diverse reasons why, on average, people do not complete online purchases 68% of the time. W3C Web Payments standards can help some of the issues related to shopping cart abandonment regarding usability and security, through standard messages and message flow for the initiation, confirmation, and completion of payments. With support from these APIs, users will choose a preferred payment instrument for a particular transaction, and the messages between Web application and payment service providers will be mediated by the browser on the user's behalf.

“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," commented 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.”

The charter (and supporting FAQ) for this new Web Payments Working Group were 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 new Web Payments Working 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 (Ripple) and Nick Telford-Reed (Worldpay). W3C technical staff contacts for the Web Payments Working Group are Ian Jacobs and Doug Schepers.

The Web Payments Interest Group, under the leadership of co-chairs Erik Anderson (Bloomberg) and David Ezell (NACS), will continue to identify additional areas for future standardization. 

Work on payments at W3C was supported in part by the European Union through the HTML5Apps project.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth and stewardship for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. W3C has Offices in Australia; the Benelux countries; Brazil; Finland; France; Germany and Austria; Greece; Hungary; India; Italy; Korea; Morocco; Russia; Southern Africa; Spain; Sweden; and the United Kingdom and Ireland. For more information see http://www.w3.org/

Media Contact

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Testimonials from W3C Members

Bloomberg

Bloomberg is a strong supporter of W3C. The trend in consumer financial services is toward user mobile devices, cloud, and the public internet, all of which benefit from standardization that leads to safer and better user experiences. The creation of the Web Payments WG is one of many steps in the that direction. We are proud to help lead these efforts.

Erik Anderson, Bloomberg R&D

BPCE

Groupe BPCE is delighted with this new milestone in creating the WPAY Working Group. Helping the W3C to contribute in the payment area will bring a better and renewed user experience for purchasing on the Web.

Cyril Vignet, W3C Advisory Committee Representative, Groupe BPCE

Deutsche Telekom

The unprecedented advent of digital commerce has been driven by the Web for more than a decade. We welcome the fact that the main institution for web technologies has decided to finally take care of the standardization of the relevant technology to increase security, adoption and the development of a rich payment and digital commerce ecosystem which could bridge the web based and the brick & mortar based retail world.

Martin Christahl, VP Product & Portfolio Management, Business Unit Payment and Jörg Heuer, Research&Innovation Director Payment&Transactions, Innovation Policy

Digital Bazaar

As the number of people that use the Web through mobile and desktop continues to grow toward 6 billion by the year 2020, it is vital that we improve the safety, convenience, and speed of how we send and receive money online. We applaud the W3C for bringing together a world-class group of industry leaders to address the technical problems related to payments on the Web today.

The work that the Web Payments Working Group is chartered to perform will ensure that we are able to build next generation payment systems based on the principles of global reach, fair competition, and public access that have made the Web one of the world's most powerful communication systems.

As a founding member of this effort, Digital Bazaar looks forward to continuing to work with many of the best minds in the world on improving the state of payments on the Web.

Manu Sporny, Founder/CEO Digital Bazaar

Electronic Transactions Association (ETA)

The work of the W3C Web Payments Working Group will serve to ensure the development of open web payments standards to enable interoperability, foster innovation and to support the continued growth of secure and robust payments industry.

Jason Oxman, CEO

Federal Reserve Bank

The Federal Reserve Bank is pleased to have recently acknowledged the W3C's Web Payments work in the FedFocus newsletter.

Ingenico Labs

We believe in a future where Payment will be seamlessly integrated in business applications. We are happy to support any initiatives that help make this vision come true. W3C is the right place to create the standards for an easy and secure access to financial services and therefore enable the new use cases consumers expect in today’s digital world.

Michel Léger Executive Vice President Innovation Ingenico Group

Merchant Advisory Group (MAG)

The MAG fully supports the Web Payments Working Group and their goal of developing standards that will provide customers with more payment options, reduce checkout friction, improve overall system security and encourage innovation in the payments space.

Mark A. Horwedel, CEO, Merchant Advisory Group

NACS

NACS (The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing) has long been an advocate for small business owners regarding access to financial services, and has advocated for improving control of exchange fees, reducing reliance on closed financial systems, and supporting an improved competitive environment consumers and providers. Additional advocacy goals include providing a level playing field for providing financial services, as well as doing that in a way that provides widespread availability of those services to everyone.  The proposed Web Payments work takes aim at these same goals.
 
Driving the convergence of traditional web use cases for payment with those required for brick and mortar transactions will have a strong positive impact on both merchants and consumers.  And opening financial services previously unavailable to under-banked and un-banked people will make payment systems more inclusive.
 
The Web Payments Working Group will help NACS to fulfill its financial services advocacy mission, and we congratulate the W3C on the creation of the this working group.

Michael Davis, Vice President of Member Services
NACS (The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing)

Qihoo360

As the largest Internet security company in China, Qihoo360 always pursues to ensure the safety of our users. We are very pleased to see that W3C actively endeavors to develop secure Web payment standards. To contribute to the security of the user payment process, we would like to share the related security experiences that we have accumulated over the past years with the whole web payment community as well as our security payment solutions that have already been heavily promoted in the industry, which include network-based electronic identity authentication, national level encryption method, and mobile payment method that use NFC. With these solutions, users don't have to input their private information such as their names, ID card numbers, bank card numbers or other critical info during the payment process. We hope these efforts and practices would help to prevent the leak of the private information of the users, avoid the related security risk through the payment process and bring a more secure payment experience to the users.

Baoqing Li, Qihoo 360 Online Marketing Technical Leader; Liangang Li, Qihoo 360 Payment Platform Technical Leader

Rabobank

Rabobank supports the launch of the Web Payments Working Group.  In current development of web payments, we have encountered lack of clarity in the interaction of payment related business processes such as from payment wallet to retailer check-out. Rabobank expects the Working Group results to be instrumental to further standardization in this field.

Evert Fekkes, Business Information Manager

Ripple

The world needs an Internet of Value to move value as easily as information moves today. We firmly believe the Internet of Value will be built on open, neutral web standards that make the world's many ledgers and payments systems interoperable. The W3C's Web Payments Working Group plays a critical role in developing these standards, and we are thrilled to participate among key industry players to help shape the future of web payments.

Chris Larsen, CEO of Ripple

WorldPay

The development of common standards marks the coming of age of digital payments. Digital wallets and other online forms of non-card payments have proliferated at a rapid pace globally, creating an increasingly crowded and fragmented landscape. With a common standard for these payment methods in place, retailers and merchants will be able to process a wider range of transactions more easily and deliver the secure, seamless and flexible online experience their customers expect, regardless of location or preferred digital payment method.

Nick Telford-Reed, Director of Technology Innovation at Worldpay and Co-Chair of the Web Payments Working Group