MasterCard Unveils MasterPass Digital Payments Platform At Mobile World Congress

MasterCard has wasted no time making major headlines at Mobile World Congress today, strengthening its foothold in the digital wallet space with the introduction of its new MasterPass digital payments platform.

Termed as “the evolution of PayPass Wallet Services,” MasterPass will let consumers use any payments card or enabled device to streamline their shopping experiences regardless of where or in what manner they choose to make purchases. 

“MasterPass brings together all of the ways we pay for things, from traditional plastic cards to digital wallets, and gives consumers the ability to make a payment from wherever they are and with one simple experience,” Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer said in a press release.

“Every device is becoming a shopping device.”

MasterPass’s range of features would seem to support that statement. For in-store transactions, MasterPass supports NFC, QR codes, tags and mobile devise at the point of sale. The platform provides a simple checkout process without the need to enter card/shopping information for online shoppers. And the wallet is “open,” meaning consumers can use any branded credit, debit or prepaid card in addition to MasterCard cards when using the platform.

“The most successful next generation payment product will be considerate of a wider range of stakeholders,” said Patricia Hewitt, Director, Debit Advisory Service, Mercator Advisory Group. “MasterPass reflects this modern sensibility of agnostic-based design but leverages the muscle that only a global network can deliver.”

While the consumer appeal for MasterPass is obvious, the merchant and issuer attraction is made equally apparent by the deals MasterCard has announced with VeriFone and mFoundry, respectively.

VeriFone will begin accepting both cloud-based and contactless payments from MasterPass through its GlobalBay mPOS system, allowing users to pay from their mobile devises anywhere inside a store: including while still in the isles.

Merchants are also sure to make use of MasterPass’ ability to combine retailer data with purchase data, allowing for the opportunity to send more targeted offers to customers.

“VeriFone is continuing to improve the consumer shopping experience and drive omni-channel adoption by helping retailers adopt the new wallet and alternative payment innovations their customers are demanding,” said Jennifer Miles, executive vice president of North America for VeriFone. “VeriFone’s experience and assets enable us to manage the complexity of integrating these new technologies into the existing retail infrastructure, whether the format is NFC, QR code or the cloud.”

MasterCard’s deal with mFoundry helps to underscore how issuers can benefit from integrating with MasterPass. By using MasterPass’ API, mFoundry plans to develop a digital wallet as part of its mobile banking platform to be made available to its 900 bank customers by early 2014. That means millions of new customers could gain the ability to streamline their shopping experiences like never before, and can be comfortable doing so by working with names they already trust.

“Together, mFoundry and MasterPass deliver an outstanding customer experience by integrating mobile banking and mobile payments into one, seamless solution,” said mFoundry CEO Drew Sievers.  “By bringing together both, financial institutions can transform their mobile banking experience and achieve the broader goal of turning mobile into their most valuable channel.”

According to MasterCard, the MasterPass platform will first be available to consumers in Australia and Canada by the end of March, and then to those in the U.S. and U.K. later in the Spring and Summer, respectively. MasterPass will extend to Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain and Sweden, among other markets, in 2013 as well. 

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