That Google Wallet icon is looking awfully lonely in Android 4.4's Tap and Pay menu. Twin announcements from Visa and MasterCard could finally mean a few more options for NFC payments on Android, though. Both payment technology firms will be providing tools for card issuers to support Host Card Emulation (HCE) on user accounts.


This doesn't mean that all your Visa and MasterCard accounts are going to magically start working with HCE, but some of them might in the not too distant future. Banks will be able to use the specifications published by Visa and MasterCard to create or update apps with HCE support.

Once apps start to appear, you should be able to just go into the Tap and Pay menu to select the payment handler for NFC transactions, but this will only work on devices running Android 4.4 or higher. Visa has already rolled out HCE as part of its updated payWave standard and MasterCard expects to release tools in the first half of the year.

[BusinessWire: 1, 2]