MasterCard has opened its largest Tech Hub outside of the U.S. in Pune, India, and plans to roll out its mobile payments system in April, the card brand said on Wednesday (Feb. 4).
The new Tech Hub is built on ElectraCard Services, a Puna-based global provider of software and processing services for electronic payment and card systems that MasterCard acquired in 2014. It joins a similar facility in the northern city of Vadodara, home of mobile wallet developer C-SAM, which MasterCard also acquired last year.
(Source: MasterCard India Tech Hub Digital Press Kit)
India currently has about 10 percent of MasterCard’s global workforce, and by year-end it will employ a total of 1,500 workers at the Pune and Vadodara sites, Finextra reported. The Indian engineers will work on mobile and contactless payments innovation, and tap into government-led initiatives to expand financial inclusion in India.
"India is renowned for its technology leadership, focus on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit," said MasterCard Operations and Technology president Rob Reeg. "The Tech Hub gives MasterCard the opportunity to bring in talented technologists and a wealth of creative new ideas that will help shape the future of payments."
For Indian consumers, that future starts in April when MasterCard rolls out MasterPass in the world's second most populous country, according to HuffPost India. The system, which works similarly to Apple Pay for online purchases, lets customers buy online without entering their credit card details.
Apple Pay itself may take longer to arrive on the subcontinent, despite MasterCard's strong commitment to Apple's mobile payments system. That's because the Indian mobile market is currently dominated by Android phones. "Surely it will launch here at some point. Already person-to-person payments are happening. As smartphones rise, access to digital money will grow rapidly," Reeg said.
Payment cards are currently used for between 3 and 4 percent of personal spending in India, said MasterCard India head Ari Sarkar. MasterCard expects that to jump to 20 percent over the next decade.