Company Spotlight

MasterCard’s View on the Mobile Commerce Game-Changers


In Part Two of this exclusive series, MasterCard’s Chief Emerging Payments Officer, Ed McLaughlin gives Karen Webster the view from his perch on who’s doing the most game-changing stuff in mobile, which represent the biggest opportunity of all and where the “white spaces” are that could pave the way for future potential.

It’s not exactly a deep dark secret that the potential to connect people and businesses and merchants together via mobile is unprecedented for everyone who touches today or would like to touch the payments and commerce ecosystem tomorrow. From MasterCard’s perspective, that starts with serving consumers that have been left out of the financial, payments and commerce world, until mobile offered them a financial services lifeline.

“There is a whole new swath of consumers who will come into the financial system, if you look at the emerging middle class,” said McLaughlin. “There’s a huge engine of growth there, and everyone will benefit because, by the introduction of electronic payments, you really can begin getting sustainable economic development and commerce for that.”  He added, “We now have some idea of what that change will be just by looking at the changes that have occurred with mobility.”

McLaughlin cited MasterCard’s work with the World Food Program to get benefits delivered to Syrian refuges in various locations using electronic payments. These direct funds can be used at local merchants and has led to a huge, tangible and demonstrable surge of economic development.

“That sustainability, that benefit that can be there to help communities, to help merchants and consumers transact, I think is a huge opportunity,” he said.

McLaughlin went on to say that the opportunities do not lie in “recreating what you could do before,” but rather in what has yet to be done. He firmly believes that by providing an enabling platform that will allow for better solutions, those shortcuts to make consumers’ lives easier, an ecosystem designed to serve all consumers will emerge, making the transition to adopting mobile all that much easier and more realistic.

“I think the biggest opportunity driver will be what we can do as a platform, to enable specific applications that take advantage of the device for consumers to go forward with,” he said. “And the role of the network is to provide that intermediation, that connectivity in order to enable it to happen.”

But often, the conversation has been too focused on the compromises that have to be made to enable transactions in this new environment, McLaughlin said. That is the inverse of the approach MasterCard is taking. The big “solve” for MasterCard is how to tie all consumers’ devices together, enable shortcuts, and ensure the security benefits of the “genuine MasterCard transaction.”

And, that is MasterCard’s focus – to become the “operating system of payments.”

This 15-minute segment covered the following key topics:

  1. The biggest untapped opportunity in mobile commerce
  2. The players best positioned to leverage those opportunities and deliver solutions
  3. The benefits of being an enabling commerce platform





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