Visa, Mastercard just made it much easier to buy stuff with an Android phone


Both Visa(s v) and Mastercard(s ma) on Wednesday announced upgrades to their point-of-sale mobile payments platforms that take advantage of new capabilities in Android’s(s goog) latest OS update called KitKat. Riding off changes made to Android 4.4 designed to further Google’s digital wallet ambitions, Visa and Mastercard are able to get around a problem that has hobbled contactless payments in the smartphone.

The issue is the secure element in an NFC smart card that verifies the owners identity. More often than not that element controlled by the mobile operator. That control of the smart card has allowed Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod), AT&T(s t) and T-Mobile(s tmus) to keep out NFC payment options like Google Wallet that would compete with Isis.

Google Wallet

But with KitKat, Google introduced a technology called host-card emulation, which takes that security element off of hardware and reproduces it as software, either in an app, or…

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