SIMalliance, which has been outspoken against the use of Host Card Emulation to simulate a Near Field Communication-based contactless payment, is now saying HCE technology can lead to more use of the phone's secure element.

HCE allows any application to initiate NFC payments without relying on a handset's secure element. A growing number of mobile payment initiatives, including Google Wallet, use HCE, but the SIM card manufacturer association SIMalliance has said HCE is more vulnerable to attack than using a secure element.

But now SIMalliance says HCE has a positive role in its potential to promote the use of the secure element.

"HCE promises to drive forward mass adoption of NFC services as it offers a speedier route to market and makes NFC more accessible and versatile to developers," Frederic Vasnier, chairman of SIMalliance, says in a June 23 release. "As consumer familiarity increases, demand for NFC SIM-based services will also grow."

A secure element in a SIM card will continue to be a consumer's best security choice for transactions in which distributing or managing "valuable or sensitive credentials" is necessary, Vasnier says.

In addition, the secure element will be the likely choice for payment service providers looking for an early move into NFC payments because the infrastructure is already in place for a secure SIM-based service, Vasnier adds.

Essentially, the fact that HCE appears poised to drive growth across the entire NFC market "is certainly good news for the whole ecosystem," Vasnier adds.

Other technology companies in the payments industry say the SIMalliance has no choice but to express a viewpoint that protects the use of the SIM card in storing the secure element.

At the Cartes America 2014 conference last month in Las Vegas, ABNote CEO Steven Springer likened the SIMalliance's concerns to that of a company selling horse-drawn carriages expressing concern about the dawn of the automobile.

ABNote recently announced a partnership with SimplyTapp, an NFC technology provider that champions the use of HCE.

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