The World Wide Web Consortium is an organization that maintains the standard across the world-wide-web; known as W3C, the consortium was founded and is led by Tim Berners-Lee himself.
W3C’s job is to maintain standards – its over 450 (and growing) members collectively suggest and work on ideas to keep the web standards up-to-date with modern needs. The latest one of the ideas coming out of W3C is the Payment Request API.
Microsoft today announced that the Edge browser will add support for the new Payment Request API with the upcoming Creators Update; for the Insiders, the feature is available right now in Build 14986 – more about that below.
The Payment Request API
Microsoft’s implementation in Edge will link the Payment Request API to Microsoft Wallet, where users can store their payment details and go through an incredibly simple payment process. That’s, in fact, the goal of this API – to make the payments process simpler.
The world’s economy has globalized, and as more people now shop online because of its convenience – the security mustn’t take a backstage.
The Payment Request API lets websites request the browser for payment information while checkout – the idea is to let the web browser save these details, instead of going through a different checkout flow on every website.
The idea might sound like nothing more than an autofill for payment information – but it’s not; the Payment Request API takes the entire payment experience from the website, and hands it over to the browser.
The browser essentially becomes the middle-man between the website and the user and completes the payment process securely. Microsoft made a handy flow graph to explain how the API works:
You can also read more about the API at the W3C Consortium’s working draft, and read about its implementation in Edge on Microsoft’s official blog.
As mentioned; Windows Insiders on Build 14986 – available to Slow Ring and Fast Ring – can try the Payment Request API right now. However, it is disabled by default and has to be enabled, here’s how:
- Open a new tab in Edge and type “about:flags” in the address bar.
- Scroll down to the Web Payments section and check the box next to the option to enable the new API.
It might be worth noting that – at least right now – enabling the Payment Request API will not allow users to use it for shopping. The functionality exists in Windows Insider builds only for web developers to play around with – it will only respond with random fake card details.
The feature will start functioning sometime during the Spring of 2017 – but only for the U.S. as that’s where Microsoft’s Wallet is supported for now. Microsoft says it plans on adding more regions and locales to Microsoft Wallet in 2017.