W3C Complement to Press release for launch of the Web Payments Working Group.

Backgrounder for W3C Web Payments Standards Work

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international standards organization that develops the technical standards and guidelines for W3C was founded in 1994 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, and who serves as its Director. Dr. Jeff Jaffe is the CEO of W3C and his role is to manage the mission “to lead the Web to its full potential.”

For more than 20 years, W3C has developed new standards so that the Web works on different devices, in different languages, for people of all abilities, and will meet the needs of diverse industries.

How W3C Works

As a technical standards consortium, W3C is a membership organization with representatives from business and industry, academia, governments and non-profit organizations. Its 400 Members, together with W3C staff, lead the technical work and determine the direction for new work, that increasingly is being driven by industries, which the Open Web Platform is foundational for them to succeed.

Web Payments Challenges

Today making payments on the web is challenging due to industry fragmentation, diverse payment methods and systems and security issues. There is a large ecosystem of organizations – including banks, merchants, credit card providers, browser vendors, device manufacturers, payment system providers and mobile phone operators – that are now participating in W3C because they have a stake in making payments easier and more secure on the Web.

W3C’s long-term goal is to enable a harmonized payment experience on the web, regardless of the device being used and whether the transaction takes place in an application or in-store. It will take some time to achieve a seamless payment experience using browsers, mobile or desktop, but the new Web Payments Working Group’s efforts are a first step to streamline the online check-out process.

Web Payments Work at W3C

In 2014 W3C formed a Web Payments Interest Group to explore areas that would benefit most from new web standards for online commerce. In their first year, the participants in this group reached consensus on a Vision for a Web Payments, a set of payments use cases, and a draft roadmap for doing the work. Most importantly, they identified a first standards opportunity and authored a charter for a Web Payments Working Group (see also the FAQ about the Working Group).

With strong support from the W3C Membership, W3C launched the Working Group in October 2015. The group holds its first face-to-face meeting during the W3C-wide meeting TPAC 2015 in Sapporo, Japan.

The mission of the Web Payments Working Group is to make payments easier and more secure on the Web. From a technical perspective, the goal of the Web Payments Working Group is to standardize programming interfaces in the online payments workflow. When completed, the standard will enable Web users to choose a preferred payment instrument for a particular transaction, and the messages between the Web application and payment service providers will be mediated by the browser on the user’s behalf. This in turn will simplify the check-out and payment experience, provide greater transaction security, automate secure payments and provide more payment options.


There are many benefits to all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem to have a standardized payments workflow:

Media Contact

Karen Myers, W3C <w3t-pr@w3.org>