Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona kicked off today (Feb. 22) and, as expected, the event brought about a slew of major announcements from mobile payments players, payments networks, startups and others.

To keep you updated with the latest and greatest announcements of the day, PYMNTS has rounded up a recap of all things MWC 16.

Visa’s Car-Based Mobile Payments Deal

Visa announced a deal with Honda and ParkWhiz that extends its Visa Token Service for auto manufactures to enable car-based commerce transactions.

Through this partnership, Visa is bringing a range of digital payment solutions — which consist of new standards for Bluetooth and QR codes — in order to expand the availability of mobile payments for merchants and consumers.

Essentially, Visa wants to enable an ecosystem of payment partners to streamline purchases and payments any place an Internet connection exists. This includes everyone from auto manufacturers to a point of sale provider.

The new options from Visa enable the following solutions:

  • Car-based commerce: Developed by Honda Developer Studio and fully integrated into Honda’s head unit, the fuel and parking proof-of-concepts are aimed at streamlining the tasks and services that consumers do every day.
  • Fuel App Concept: Enables consumers to pay for gas without leaving their car. The fuel app detects when the car needs gas and can even drive that consumer to the nearest gas station. Once parked, the app picks up how much the card needs and calculates the cost.
  • Parking App Concept: This feature enables consumers to park and automatically pay via mobile for the spot. It also eliminates the need to pay more or too little as the app only charges for the exact time used.

“The notion of transforming a car into a platform for payments is not as far off as some may think, and we have made a great deal of progress since first introducing the idea one year ago,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships for Visa. “Working with Honda to test these prototypes gets us another step closer toward commercial reality, which we think provides exciting opportunities to everyone who plays a role in the payments and automotive ecosystems.”

Visa Checkout Lands In New Markets

Visa also announced that its online payments service, Visa Checkout, will be expanding to new regions across Europe and India, including: France, India, Ireland, Poland, Spain and the U.K. 

“The incredible growth in connected commerce makes this the perfect time to bring Visa Checkout to the hundreds of millions of connected consumers using mobile devices across Europe and India today,” said Sam Shrauger, senior vice president of digital solutions for Visa. “Following the successful launch and growth of Visa Checkout in many countries last year – including Brazil, China, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore — we’re continuing our momentum in 2016, with the long-term vision of making it easier for consumers to use their Visa cards on any device, anywhere in the world.”

Visa Checkout launched in 2014 and is currently in 16 countries, but will soon (following the launch of those six more) be in more 22 countries. Visa Checkout has more than 11 million consumer accounts and is accepted by more than 250,000 merchants online. 

MasterCard’s ‘Selfie Pay’ Expands

MasterCard’s facial recognition payment option that has commonly been referred to as “selfie pay” is expanding beyond the tests in the U.S. and Netherlands.

MasterCard announced its plans to roll out the option in the U.K., according to a Financial Times report. This technology enables consumers to use their fingerprints or a photo of themselves to validate their identity. This is created for online purchases and is developed with the purpose of nixing passwords or codes.

The technology is currently in pilot mode but is expected to roll out to 14 countries this summer.

MasterCard Bringing MasterPass To Romania 

Through a new partnership with Orange, MasterCard is bringing its digital payments service MasterPass to Romania, which will allow millions of Orange customers to use the tokenized digital payments option.

As an extension of their long-standing partnership, MasterCard and Orange Romania will introduce this option in March, which will give those consumers the option to pay online in one click by checking “Buy with MasterPass” at checkout. This option removes the needs for extra credentials or personal data entered at checkout. MasterPass is currently in 29 countries.

“MasterCard is one of the global leaders in terms of driving the movement toward digital payments, with our products and solutions setting the standard when it comes to connecting consumers with the technology of the future. We are delighted to have in Orange a partner that shares our vision: providing consumers with the latest services, extending benefits and improving their payment experience – this is what makes an authentic partnership” said Gabriel Ghiță, Head of New Business Central and Eastern Europe for MasterCard.

MasterCard’s IQ Series 

During a session entitled “Digital Identity for Connected Societies,” featuringMasterCard President of Enterprise Security Solutions Ajay Bhalla, he introduced MasterCard’s IQ Series, which uses both “visible” and “invisible” means to prevent fraud from occurring. Before Bhalla took the stage, PYMNTS caught up with him to dive deeper into what he and MasterCard are doing to help fight one of the biggest sources of friction in payments and commerce: false declines in an online world.

While recognizing that digital commerce (referring to card-not-present, card present, eCommerce and mobile commerce) is still small, Bhalla notes that it’s expanding “at a very fast pace.”

Making the fact that 50 percent of all fraud globally is associated with digital commerce “a big problem” — a problem, Bhalla points out, that will only multiply as the Internet of Things (IoT) gains a stronger presence in the world “and more and more devices are being used for transactions and those transactions are automated.”

MasterCard’s Coin Partnership Expands

Last month, PYMNTS reported that MasterCard had partnered with Coin to bring the next generation of wearables by leveraging Coin’s patented technology platform that miniaturizes the payments technology needed to make wearables functional and interoperable.

Coin’s partnership with MasterCard will give consumers a convenient and secure option for payments in any consumer gadget, accessory or wearable that might like to also double as a payment device.

“We’ve long recognized the tremendous potential developers have to shape the future of commerce, and we have worked hard to provide the building blocks to help fuel this innovation. We’re excited to extend our partnership with Coin to enable developers to leverage the MDES platform and the MasterCard Digital Enablement Express program to rapidly enhance their creations and to stand out in today’s device-driven world,” said Sherri Haymond, Senior VP of Digital Payments & Labs at MasterCard.

Now, Coin is rolling out a developer program to help accelerate the integration of payments into wearables. This program includes leveraging MasterCard’s Digital Enablement Express program to simplify the card onboarding and provisioning process. Express eliminates the need for device makers to go to each individual issuer to enable this technology.

“Signing up for the Coin developer program gives wearables manufacturers transparent access to a turnkey solution,” said Kanishk Parashar, CEO and Co-Founder of Coin. “The program makes commerce accessible to device makers as payments on wearables become table stakes. We are confident that our miniaturized and secure payment technology, combined with MasterCard’s tokenization, will benefit our wearables partners with increased engagement of their products.”

MasterCard, WISeKey Partner On Wearable Payments

MasterCard and WISeKey announced a new deal to enable contactless payments on luxury watches and wearables.

This partnership brings more wearables under MasterCard’s belt for it to enable digital payments. MasterCard will integrate its payments tech into WISeKey’s Cryptographic Root of Trust for IoT and NFCTrusted technology solutions in order to bring MasterCard’s payments security to its wearables.

“Our collaboration with WISeKey is a great example of how payments functionality can deliver transformative more value for a variety of device manufacturers, and create safe and convenient shopping experiences for their consumers,” Haymond said. “Together, we are using our collective innovative technology and expertise to transform the way people pay for things.”

“Working together, WISeKey and MasterCard will open the door to additional e-commerce and marketing opportunities for luxury wearable device and watch manufacturers. The potential for improved communication with customers can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business,” said Carlos Moreira, CEO of WISeKey.

MasterCard/CU Wallet Pair On Customized Digital Wallets

MasterCard and CU Wallet announced a partnership designed at brings credit unions the ability to customize digital services.

This deal will involve CU Wallet speeding the development/deployment of mobile wallets by offering MasterPass to those credit unions — which includes the 120 credit union members that are part of CU Wallet.

“There is inherent value in the relationship that people have with their chosen financial institution and we think that should remain at the center – even in a digital environment,” said Matt Barr, Group Head of Digital Payments at MasterCard. “By leveraging the MasterPass API we are able to compliment the CU Wallet offering to deliver a truly holistic customer experience across devices and payment channels. By integrating into the credit union’s digital banking services, this also opens the door for enhanced loyalty and reward services.”

“The MasterPass acceptance network will provide our member financial institutions with increased transactions supported by a secure, compelling and convenient digital shopping experience,” said Paul Fiore, CU Wallet’s CEO and Founder. “This partnership is a significant milestone in our company’s history and our team is thrilled to work together with MasterCard to deliver innovative customizable mobile wallet solutions for financial institutions.”

MasterCard Microdonation Platform Partnership

MasterCard announced a partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to bring an enhanced online donation platform for credit unions.

Through this platform, MasterCard is enabling credit unions to have an easier way to raise money among its members. This online donation service is part of MasterCard’s “Integrated Giving” platform to help credit unions  integrate donation systems onto their credit and debit offerings.

“Credit Unions are a centerpiece of local communities and we wanted to build a platform that made it even easier for them to support a cause that was meaningful to them, as well as their members,” said John Ainsworth, group executive, Independent Banks and Credit Unions at MasterCard.

Facebook’s Telecom Infra Project, Virtual Reality Push

Facebook also made headlines at MWC when it announced the Telecom Infra Project, a new initiative that aims to bring operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies to develop new technologies to connect more consumers online.

“Every day, more people and more devices around the world are coming online, and it’s becoming easier to share data-intensive experiences like video and virtual reality. Scaling traditional telecom infrastructure to meet this global data challenge is not moving as fast as people need it to,” Jay Parikh, Facebook’s Global Head of Engineering and Infrastructure, wrote in a news release. “We know there isn’t a single solution for this, and no one company can tackle the problem alone. Driving a faster pace of innovation in telecom infrastructure is necessary to meet these new technology challenges and to unlock new opportunities for everyone in the ecosystem.”

Facebook made announcements surrounding one of the hottest topics trending at MWC. Facebook announced advances in its efforts to invest in virtual reality — including one trending topic: Oculus.

Facebook announced that the Oculus store has more than 200 games and apps available for its platform, and that consumers have already watched more than a million hours or video in Gear VR (built by Facebook’s Oculus team).

PayPal’s Global Mobile Push

PayPal made a series of announcements that make it clear how PayPal intends to tap further into the world of mobile money: through a series of third-party partnerships.

The first of those partnerships was teased earlier this month when it was reported that PayPal had teamed up with Vodafone in Europe to enable Vodafone Wallet users to use those wallets in-store at places that accept NFC payments: retail locations, stores and restaurants. The partnership makes it possible for PayPal users to enable contactless payments for goods and services at the point of sale, too.

The rollout begins in Spain and officially went live today, giving every Spanish Vodafone subscriber the chance to integrate PayPal into their mobile wallet to pay in-store via NFC.

PayPal also announced that it would be adding NFC payments capabilities to its app, starting with customers in the U.S. and Australia this spring. The digital payments company also announced that PayPal and M-Pesa are teaming up to enable the automatic deposit of remittances into Kenyans’ M-Pesa accounts via Xoom.

And finally, PayPal announced it is now working with telecom providers in Mexico (Telcel) and Brazil (Claro) on their digital wallets to help their more than 140 million active users manage and make purchases via mobile devices.


Featured PYMNTS Study:

More than 63 percent of merchant service providers (MSPs) want to overhaul their core payment processing systems so they can up their value-added services (VAS) game. It’s tough, though, since many of these systems date back to the pre-digital era. In the January 2020 Optimizing Merchant Services Playbook, PYMNTS unpacks what 200 MSPs say is key to delivering the VAS agenda that is critical to their success.