Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

March 06, 2014

MasterCard, Syniverse Developing New Services Based on Location of User, Mobile Device

There is growing concern among consumers who want to use their financial cards while traveling, but worry about illegal use of cards or face rejection when legal transactions are declined because they are in a foreign nation.

But a new pilot-phase program by MasterCard and Syniverse will be able to limit card-based transactions when a user's mobile device is in a specific location, along with the consumer. In addition, banks and other financial institutions would be able to use the new program to have more information as to whether they should approve or decline a transaction.

“This means that if you (and your phone) are in Barcelona and someone tries to use your card in Madrid, the purchase will be declined,” according to a report from Engadget.

The need is clearly there, given that hundreds of millions of consumers travel to foreign nations each year – taking mobile devices with them. They want security of payments and convenient, efficient payment acceptance. As of now, some 75 million mobile phone users travel outside of their country of residence per month. And 70 percent of users turn off mobile data functions when they arrive in another nation – in an apparent effort to avoid paying roaming charges.

Mobile network operators and brands may also see benefits from the program – by providing targeted offers which will be chosen based on a location of a mobile device – and the consumer opting in for participation. In fact, SEEC economists have estimated that the value of the market is about $44 billion for those operators that provide services to brands based on opted-in mobile subscribers’ information, behavior and location. These variable factors together are known as mobile context.

Jeff Gordon, president and CEO at Syniverse, said in a statement that “this collaboration with the world’s leading brands will build new opportunities, resulting in more powerful mobile experiences for end users, new revenue opportunities for mobile operators and strengthened brand loyalty for all.”

The new pilot program was announced at the recent Mobile World Congress.

Under the current plan, mobile users would be able to purchase prepaid data packages as they arrive in another nation – as part of the service offering.

The two partners in the pilot program have impressive numbers. There are almost two billion MasterCard cards in circulation. Syniverse reaches over 5 billion mobile devices worldwide thanks to 1,000 mobile service providers.

“This collaboration of two global technology leaders opens up a whole new range of possibilities for end users, ensuring a seamless payment and mobile experience,” Hany Fam, president of Global Strategic Alliances at MasterCard, said in a statement. “By leveraging the speed and intelligence of our global network and combining it with geolocation solutions, we are enabling your MasterCard to uniquely work where you and your phone are, anywhere in the world.”


Edited by Rory J. Thompson




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