MasterCard to expand digital wallet service beyond NFC
MasterPass cloud-based technology will also support QR codes, traditional credit cards
Computerworld - MasterCard on Monday revised its year-old mobile payment strategy by unveiling a digital, cloud-based service called MasterPass that moves well beyond near-field communication technology used in smartphones to support QR codes, traditional credit cards and other ways to make payments.
In an announcement at the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company called the change to MasterPass an "evolution" of its PayPass Wallet Services, first launched in the spring of 2012. MasterPass will allow consumers to make payments from digital wallets or traditional credit cards. Consumers can also rely on NFC or QR codes scanned with optical readers if such technologies are supported by the banks and stores that they use.
Because the new MasterPass system is cloud-based, consumers will be able to use their MasterCard or any other branded credit, debit or pre-paid card they want from any bank or merchant, officials said.
Purchases can be made at store checkout counters, or if customers don't want to wait in a checkout line, they can make purchases while standing in a store aisle via their smartphone or a salesperson's tablet. Consumers also can use the service from a mobile device or PC at home or elsewhere.
"MasterPass brings together all the ways we pay for things," said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer for MasterCard.
The announcement is an indication of the slow global advance of mobile payments made with NFC technology, which requires consumers to use smartphones equipped with NFC chips and merchants to install NFC readers at checkout counters.
NFC technology has been used by consumers for transit and retail purchases for years in South Korea and Japan, but has been slow to catch on in other regions.
"We are still believers in NFC and think it will continue to progress, but there will always be merchants where NFC might not be the right solution and we don't want to be wed to one technology alone," said Ed Olebe, a senior vice president at MasterCard and head of MasterPass, in an interview.
"Where before we said to merchants to use NFC and PayPass using a secure element, you're now seeing us doing a lot more for those who want to use bar codes or QR codes or even sound waves to accept payments. Some technologies are more secure than others," Olebe said.
"Our insight is that the merchant is going to control their store and invest in the technology that might be right," Olebe said. "It's unlikely we'll be able to force merchants to pick a technology that's right for them. In some situations, plastic is still oftentimes right, so why force another mechanism on that?"
- MWC: Dropbox CEO criticises Apple cloud lock-in
- Apple, Samsung and Google under fire at Mobile World Congress
- Five smartphone and tablet trends from Mobile World Congress
- TD-LTE goes mainstream with a new performance promise
- ARM's battery-saving technology debuts in tablet, smartphone prototypes
- Second wave of Windows 8 client promotions coming soon
- Firefox OS adds to pressure on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 OS
- Industrial sapphire might be your next smartphone display
- ARM still drives design for smartphones -- 1 billion in 2013
- German engineers deconstruct smartphones to find new uses
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Mobile Payments White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!