MasterCard has entered the realm of real-time payments.
The payments technology company today launched MasterCard Send, a personal payments service that enables funds to be sent quickly and securely to customers domestically and internationally.
As noted in a press release, the service – rolling out first in the U.S. – facilitates disbursements and person-to-person (P2P) payments to and from almost any U.S. debit card account, not just MasterCard-branded ones. Funds transferred via MasterCard Send will be available for use within 30 minutes, rather than taking the days it sometimes takes with the current ACH process.
“Through MasterCard Send, we have enabled a breakthrough solution that takes the pain out of the system, provides faster clearing of payments, and delivers a better user experience for senders and receivers alike,” Ed McLaughlin, Chief Emerging Payments Officer at MasterCard, said in the release. “MasterCard Send is addressing a real need that exists in today’s digital world to enable consumers, businesses, governments and more to have a safe, simple and secure way to transfer and receive funds quickly.”
Barb King, a group head in the MasterCard Payment Systems Integrity Group, described the service to PYMNTS as “a breakthrough platform in the industry.”
She gave several examples of use cases – including the settling of insurance claims, the sharing economy, and ticket resale – noting that the service is being marketed to companies, rather than directly to consumers.
As for what specific segments MasterCard is targeting with MasterCard Send, King remarked that the company is “working with a number of businesses that are dispersers” in the U.S.
Beyond the U.S., King shared that MasterCard is currently working with governments in other parts of the globe on remittances, with a plan to extend partnerships over time.
Regarding the details of a MasterCard Send transaction, King noted that the time a transaction takes does not vary according to the size of payment. Rather, the speed is analogous to an ATM transaction.
“Think of [a MasterCard Send transaction] as any other transaction that you do with a debit card today,” she stated. “We are working with all of debit networks that exist in the U.S….to make sure that they have that reach.”
Details on the business model and economics were not disclosed.
The company’s focus for the new platform, King said, is generally on changing “inefficient processes,” whether those be check-based or cash-based.
Because MasterCard Send leverages existing platforms and networks, King pointed out that there have not been any security challenges in getting the service up and running.
“All of the entities that we’re working with have already been part of the payments industry,” she said. “They’ve already been looking at transaction security, data security… And I think that is one of the advantages, certainly in the consumer’s mind.”
Referencing consumer studies, King said that “consumers are much more comfortable giving their personal details to their financial institution than they are to many other types of entities.”
And that, she attested, is a big reason why MasterCard Send is more appealing than the bitcoin protocol. “[It works off] the model that gives the consumer the ability to get…funds in a way that they’re already very comfortable with.”
MasterCard is launching the value-added service because, says King, “We think [personal payments] is a growing space in the industry, [be it] person-to-person payments, business to consumer, [or] government to consumer. When you look at some of the industry statistics that exist, in terms of the opportunity to displace cash and checks, we’re talking trillions of dollars.”
Concluded King: “As consumer demand grows to make those transactions secure and fast, we think this is going to be…a very high-growth space for us over time.”
About MasterCard Send: