Web Payments Working Group Charter In Review

Today the W3C Membership began review of a draft Web Payments Working Group Charter. The review ends 15 September, and if all goes well, the group will launch by the end of September and will really get down to work when they meet face-to-face during TPAC 2015.

The charter reflects decisions made by the Web Payments Interest Group in June. It has been refined since then through review by the Interest Group and W3C management to sharpen the definitions, scope, and deliverables.

In the proposed Web Payments API specification, the Web Payments Working Group will standardize a set of messages and a message flow for the initiation, confirmation, and completion of a payment. The specification will encompass two steps that are common in many eCommerce payment scenarios:

  1. Payment initiation: The merchant (payee) communicates information about the “offer” and accepted digital payment schemes to the payer via a Web application. If the customer (payer) wishes to accept the offer, the payer selects a digital payment instrument from the payer’s digital wallets that is compatible with what the payee accepts, and agrees to pay.
  2. Payment completion: Payment processing then happens, either on the payee side or the payer side depending on the selected digital payment instrument.

The Working Group is not creating any new digital payment schemes, but rather integrating existing and emerging schemes more efficiently and securely into Web applications. A standardized message flow should make it easier to automate payments, which will improve the overallsecurity and user experience of making payments on the Web.

The Interest Group has published a FAQ with more information about the anticipated benefits of the future standards, a diagram illustrating the high-level message flow, and some examples of how different payment approaches can be addressed through this flow.

The Web Payments Interest Group also updated its Web Payments Use Cases 1.0 Working Draft one week ago. Now that the Interest Group has successfully delivered a draft charter for review, it will shift discussion to an overall Web payments architecture and prepare key topics for its next face-to-face meeting in October.

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