As host of the Mobile Payments Global Symposium at Mobile World Congress, MasterCard has been making some significant announcements. Perhaps most significant is the introduction of MasterPass, a new digital service that allows consumers to store payment information in a digital wallet, supporting access to this information via a mobile device.
MasterCard has already secured a number of MasterPass partners, including banks, merchants and payment technology providers.
MasterPass represents the next step in MasterCard's PayPass Wallet Services, which enables users to store their payment credentials, as well as billing and shipping addresses, securely in the cloud — even supporting non-MasterCard credit cards.
The overall goal of the PayPass Wallet was to make online shopping through mobile devices quicker and easier.
As such, MasterPass takes the logical next step, allowing customers to also make payments in brick and mortar stores. Currently, this means that merchants using NFC or GR codes at the point of sale can integrate with MasterPass, using it to store consumer data in the cloud.
"Every device is becoming a shopping device," said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard, in a statement. "MasterPass brings together all of the ways we pay for things, from traditional plastic cards to digital wallets, and gives consumers the ability to make a payment from wherever they are and with one simple experience."
The use of cloud technology allows MasterPass to sidestep the issue of storing payment data on a secure element embedded in mobile devices. While an effective method, using a secure element to store information has led to control issues as in the case of Verizon blocking Google Wallet in favor of Isis, of which it is a one-third owner.
MasterPass will also continue to be as open as PayPass, enabling partners to build their own wallets atop the service, while continuing to allow any branded credit, debit or prepaid card to be stored.
Also at MWC, MasterCard announced a partnership with Orange to develop, deliver and deploy the latest in mobile payments technology in Spain.
Edited by Braden Becker