Mozilla Moves Ahead With Its Plans For A Common Web API For Payments

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Mozilla is working with payment vendors and the W3C standards body to create a common API to make online payments, both on desktop and mobile, easier and more secure. To get this process going, Mozilla has implemented a new and experimental JavaScript API into its new Firefox OS for smartphones that will eventually allow web apps to accept payments. Mozilla argues that having a common API for handling payments that can be integrated with multiple payment vendors will open up new business models for developers and publishers.

This new API, navigator.mozPay(), Mozilla says, was inspired by Google’s Wallet for Digital Goods API and will ship in Firefox OS first and then be added to Firefox for Android and desktop Firefox later. While it’s currently a very experimental API (and still incomplete), Mozilla expects that it will be usable enough to “process live payments on the first Firefox OS phones and evolve quickly from real-world usage.”

The question to ask here, of course, is why bother, given that online payments don’t seem to be a major issue for users and developers, thanks to services like PayPal and Stripe. Mozilla, however, argues that users should have more choice when it comes to how they want to pay for goods online (be they virtual or physical). Users, the organization also notes, still have to type in their credit card numbers, which “is like giving someone the keys to your expensive car, letting them drive it around the block in a potentially dangerous neighborhood (the web) and saying please don’t get carjacked!”

With navigator.mozPay(), developers will be able to grant permission to each payment provider they want to work with and use a very straightforward process for handling these payments that’s more about exchanging tokens than exchanging credit card information.

You can find more details about how to implement and test the current version of this API here.