MWC Day Two: Foursquare Makes Biggest Payments Splash

By Ben Carsley, Writer/Editor (@BC_PYMNTS)

Welcome to Day Two of’s Mobile World Congress 2013 Recap: a comprehensive look at all the most important payments announcements and coolest stories from MWC2013 in Barcelona, Spain. 

We will be live on-site for all four days of the conference and aim to bring you as many major news stories, fascinating tidbits, product reviews/demos and more from one of the industry’s biggest and most important shows. If you missed Day One, catch our write-up here.

Think we should have covered another big story? Want to share a cool product or feature you saw with us? Let me know in the comments below!

Foursquare Takes Next Step With MasterCard, Visa Integration

Foursquare stole the headlines early in Day Two, announcing that they’ve integrated with MasterCard and Visa to offer users special discounts for using those cards when checked in to certain locations. The test pilot will begin with the 8,000-plus Burger Kings in the U.S., and will automatically apply discounts to cards when they’re used in-store, offering $1 off for every $10 spent.

According to AdAge, the deal differs from the one they signed with American Express two years ago from a business model standpoint. Yes, MasterCard and Visa cardholders won’t see much of a difference in the way they pay with their cards from the way AmEx holders do with theirs. But while the Foursquare-AmEx marriage was more about marketing, Foursquare will receive a fee for MasterCard/Visa transactions driven from its platform, although the company decline to offer specifics.

“This is going to be a pretty core part of our revenue model going forward,” acknowledged Noah Weiss, product manager at Foursquare.

Other merchants such as Whole Foods, Nike, Sports Authority and Dunkin’ Donuts are expected to join Burger King as partners in the coming months.

GSMA Announces 2013 Global Mobile Winners

The GSMA revealed their 2013 Global Mobile Award winners yesterday, and while not all the results are payments-relevant, many are. Facebook was one of the big winners, grabbing the Best Mobile App for Consumers award, while Samsung earned Best Smartphone honors for the Galaxy SIII. Samsung also won Outstanding Overall Mobile Technology. Best Overall Mobile App went to Wae, while MasterCard and Etisalat won the Best NFC/Mobile Money Product or Service award for Flous. In 2012, in partnership with Oberthur Technologies and MasterCard, Etisalat rolled mobile commerce service “Flous” enabling fully interoperable, industrial grade, open-loop Financial Services ecosystem across majority of its operations. Flous includes payments (merchants, utility, transportation), transfers (domestic and International), bank accounts management, secure access and ticketing.

Service was developed and implemented as a commercial foundation for mHealth, mIdentity and mEducation strategic verticals accessible across NFC, on-line, STK, Companion Card and IVR user interfaces.

Regarding Flous, the judges said: “A stand-out entry in terms of the scale of deployment and comprehensive suite of m-commerce offerings across so many countries and different verticals. The open-loop system also makes it future-proof. An excellent mobile money product which has been very well tailored to serve local users.”

This marks the third year in a row MasterCard has won a GSMA award.

View the full list of winners here.

MasterCard Makes International Deals

If ubiquity in devices was the theme of MasterCard’s first day at MWC, ubiquity in international markets was the theme of day two. In addition to their Mobile Symposium, MasterCard announced three new partnerships — with VimpelCom, Ezetap and Equity Bank – that will help strength its foothold in the European and African markets. Details on that here.

Another OS Hopeful Enters Fray

Yesterday, we wrote about Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and how potential payments ramifications down the road made it worthy of mentioning in this space. But on Tuesday we saw perhaps an even more likely challenger to the Android/Apple dominance in Tizen: a new OS backed by Samsung and Intel making its debut at MWC. With an impressive list of backers, such as Orange and Huawei, plus an agreement by NTT Docomo to sell Tizen devices, the OS stands as good a chance as any as disrupting the OS market. Sprint Nextel is involved with Tizen as well, according to a Cnet review.

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