Payments Task Force
From W3C Wiki
What are the opportunities and challenges for Web based payments? Can we provide a means whereby users have a free choice in which means of payment they want to use in any given situation? What is the relationship to eWallets that reside in your phone or in the cloud? How can we enable valued added third party services?
This is the home wiki page for the Headlights 2012 Payments Task Force.
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Payments and Web Intents
Web Intents provides a mechanism whereby the user can select which provider to pass to a web page requesting a given intent. This breaks free of the current practice of hard wiring the web page to specific providers. There are multiple solutions for Web-based payments, and users should be given the choice of selecting the means of payment that best suits them in the current situation. Web Intents has the further benefit of minimizing the information disclosed to the Web Application, which only sees the payment solution provider chosen by the user, and doesn't get to find out just which set of credit cards etc. the user has in her wallet.
Some measure of privacy is given by existing payment solutions where the Web application makes use of a third party to perform the secure payment transaction, and doesn't get to know the number of the credit card used (as an example). Web Intents improves on this by avoiding the need for Web applications to have a fixed connection to such third parties.
Open standards for Web payment APIs
Call for Implementations
To get the ball rolling, we need volunteers to work on experimental implementations that extend web browsers to support a variety of payment solutions via Web Intents.
Complementary standards for value added 3rd party services
Why would you bother with an eWallet in your mobile phone when you can pay with a regular debit or credit card? For people to switch, there needs to be a compelling value proposition. A frequently cited benefit is a painless approach to discount coupons, such as those commonly delivered to your door as paper spam. Having to sort out these coupons and stuff them into your already bulging wallet, then pull out the right one at the checkout stand is a pain for customers and checkout staff alike. With an eWallet in your phone, you could scan in printed QRCodes on advertisments, or easier still automatically add the eCoupons when tapping on NFC tags on other products.
Bar codes (including QRCodes) requires you to load the appropriate app on your phone and to line up the camera to make the scan. By comparison, NFC tags offer a much better user experience, as you just need to tap your phone against the tag, and the appropriate application is launched automatically. NFC tags could enable a wide range of value added third party services, for example, here are just a few ideas:
- instantly check if the food item you are buying would trigger any of the allergies for your or your family members
- at the same time get advice on alternative products that would be safe
- get menu suggestions and a list of where to get the ingredients
- get reports on your eating habits and suggestions for improvements - this would be based on signing up with a third party who would aggregate your purchases and provide a monthly report
- get independent reviews of a product and suggestions for alternatives
- get price comparisons with other stores, and painlessly contribute to those comparisons
- get information on the provenance of products and how they were produced, e.g. is this item produced in an sustainable way and were the workers paid at equitable rates?
- for clothing, get fashion tips on which other items would form a good outfit
- get regular assessment of your family expenditure after having signed up with a third party, who could offer advice on healthier and cheaper choices for stretching your budget
- get instant notifications of which of your friends bought this or a similar product
Some valued added third party services will involve a business relationship between the merchant selling the product and the third party. Other such services could be based upon open standards, e.g. for naming products and providing access to information about them.
Some of these use cases can be addressed through an API for Web applications to read data off NFC tags. Others necessitate open standards for the information involved, e.g. for ingredients, provenance, washing instructions, and for adding a discount coupon to your eWallet.
- See W3C NFC wiki for further background on NFC tags, use cases, and Web APIs
Brief survey of existing payment services
Debit payments are possible where an account is prefilled and drawn down for each transaction. The account could be your bank account, or it could be a separate account that you fill with you regular credit or debit card. Another approach aggregates your transactions subject to some overall limit and requires you to settle in full or in part at the end of the month.
please add to this list and amend as appropriate
- Western Union - person to person transfers settled online through a user's debit or credit card or through cash payments at Western Union outlets
- PayPal - online payment service settled through a user's debit or credit card
- Paypal Here - dongle converts phones into wireless card swipe reader for card payments
- Square - dongle converts phones and tablets into wireless card swipe reader for card payments, "Pay with square" - pay without even touching your phone, merchant automatically opens your tab as you walk in the door, and at checkout time, confirms your identity by your name and photo. How does the merchant sense your presence (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, explicit Web notification)?
- Verifone SAIL - dongle converts phones and tablets into wireless card swipe reader for card payments
- Flint - use the phone's camera to read your debit or credit card, and enter card verification information
- V.me - enter your email address and password at checkout as a proxy for swiping your Visa debit or credit card, in addition, support for NFC payments from your phone with the V.me account
- Paypass - NFC payment solution for Mastercard NFC enabled debit or credit cards, and now from your phone with the PayPass wallet
- Project Oscar - mobile wallet with payment via the mobile network or via NFC - joint venture between Vodafone, O2 and Everything Everywhere (parent company of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK)
- Isis - mobile wallet with payment via NFC at any Isis Ready merchant.
- Google Wallet - mobile wallet with payment from your phone via NFC at PayPass enabled terminals
- LevelUp - mobile display or printed card with QRCode as a proxy for the user's debit or credit card
- GSMA OneAPI - HTTP based network payment protocol aimed at mobile operators
Some more experimental approaches:
- Bitcoin - a decentralized electronic cash system based upon cryptographic tokens with a peer to peer solution for managing transactions and minting tokens
- Flattr - prepay service for making payments to sites displaying Flattr button, where your monthly spend is divided amongst the sites where you clicked the button
- PaySwarm - micropayment solution that splits payments across people listed in a PaySwarm digital contract
- WebCredits - simple system for storing and transferring IOUs (credits) between agents
- OpenTransact - HTTP based payment protocol
- IFEX - protocol designed to facilitate the negotiation of financial transactions between internet-based financial endpoints
- Ripple - credit based solution where commitments to pay ("IOUs") are exchanged along trust chains
- Opentabs - credit based solution involving settlements of cryptographically signed open tabs ("IOUs")
Using your phone in place of a ticket
Purchase a ticket online and present your phone at the turnstile to gain entrance, using either a 2D barcode or NFC. Buy a ticket for a friend and transfer it to her by tapping her phone. This approach has also been applied to airline boarding passes, avoiding the need for printing or collecting a paper version of the boarding pass.
Money transfer for the unbanked
People without bank accounts often own mobile phones. Network operators have created solutions for person to person transfers between phones. These are popular in the developing world.
2011 W3C Web Payments Community Group
A Web Payments CG which was set up in 2011 by Manu Sporny. Its stated aim:
The purpose of the Web Payments Community Group is to discuss, research, prototype, and create working systems that enable Universal Payment for the Web. The goal is to create a safe, decentralized system and a set of open, patent and royalty-free specifications that allow people on the Web to send each other money as easily as they exchange instant messages and e-mail today. The group will focus on transforming the way we reward each other on the Web as well as how we organize financial resources to enhance our personal lives and pursue endeavors that improve upon the human condition.