(More) News From MasterCard At MWC

Fresh from the MasterPass launch and a host of international news, MasterCard decided to make a few more announcements. There were three main themes here: Brazil, financial inclusion and mobile POS.

MasterCard chose Brazil for its first NFC payment project in Latin America. With partners Itaú, TIM, Redecard, and Gemalto, the company will bring its PayPass mobile technology to the country.

Using Mobile PayPass, a consumer can simply tap their PayPass-enabled smart phone onto the merchant’s NFC enabled POS from Redecard, and the payment is made instantaneously. Purchases are charged to a virtual account stored in the account holder’s smart phone and billed via the account holder’s Itaú issued statement, very similar to the way traditional payment card generated payments are billed today. Yesterday, a number of smart phones equipped with the Mobile PayPass technology were made available to Itaú customers, which can be used at select merchant locations in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Additionally, as part of efforts to prepare the environment for the future of electronic payments, MasterCard is building the ability to connect MasterPass, its recently announced digital service, to a Mobile PayPass-enabled handset that has been provisioned for NFC payments at the cash register.

But this is not the only news in Brazil. MasterCard also launched “Spending Pulse”, a report that provides a macroeconomic analysis of retail performance and spending. The new SpendingPulse report provides the most complete overview of consumer spending in Brazil. Based on data from transactions processed by the MasterCard Brazil payments network of 1.7 million businesses nationwide, the report offers actionable insights on the supermarket, household and consumer goods, clothing and construction materials industries, as well as an overall retail index.

As the seventh largest economy in the world, and the biggest in Latin America, Brazil is one of the most attractive countries for global retail expansion due to its growing middle class and high consumption rates. It seems only natural that MasterCard too wants to bet on this growing market.

The other set of news relates to those who have poor access to financial and banking tools. MasterCard has announced two partnerships to foster financial inclusion: an alliance with Beam and a partnership with eServGlobal and Oltio for the Mobile Money Partnership Program. The first will see Beam and MasterCard launch a low-cost prepaid card that will allow over 14 million mobile wallet consumers of Beam to transact at physical merchants, online and access ATMs. This will allow customers in India to connect their existing mobile wallets with the advantages of the MasterCard brand. The second partnership sees eServGlobal and Oltio join the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program (MMPP), an initiative launched in February 2012 with the aim of helping more than 2.5 billion financially-underserved consumers around the world use their mobile phones to access mainstream financial services.

“Mobile has the unique potential to provide financial inclusion in emerging markets like Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. In fact, 16 percent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa report having used a mobile phone in the past 12 months to pay bills or send or receive money,” said Mung Ki Woo, Group Executive, Mobile, MasterCard Worldwide. “The addition of eServGlobal and Oltio into the Mobile Money Partnership Program increases our collective reach and influence in emerging markets where better access to electronic payments is vital.”

Finally, MasterCard announced that 19 Mobile Point-of-Sale Solutions have received the company’s best practices certification. The mPOS solution providers now certified by MasterCard are: Corduro, Ezetap, Elavon, Handpoint, Itos, iVeri, iZettle, JSC Smartfin (2Can), Miura Systems, NetSecure Payments (Kudos), Payworks, ROAM, SCCP (Swiff), Soft Space, Square and Thyron Systems.

All in all it’s been a very eventful week for MasterCard. It seems all this work has paid off, as the company, along with Oberthur Technologies and telecom provider Etisalat, has won the GSMA Award in the Best NFC/Mobile Money category.

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