MasterCard, Visa launch major mobile payment initiatives

MasterCard teams with VeriFone to offer cloud-based mobile payment option

MasterCard and Visa took the opportunity of the Mobile World Congress to launch major mobile payment initiatives this week.

MasterCard is teaming with VeriFone Systems to integrate its MasterPass digital payments platform as a cloud-based payment option with VeriFone's GlobalBay mobile point-of-sale and clienteling applications.

VeriFone said its customer base includes 75 percent of the top 200 largest retailers in the United States. The GlobalBay mobile POS application allows retail associates to use mobile devices to scan items, apply coupons and discounts, and complete transactions for shoppers from any location in a store.

The GlobalBay clienteling app enables associates to record consumer preferences and buying habits, and leverage customer data for promotions and cross-selling.  The MasterPass integration will combine retailer data with purchase data for more targeted customer offers. 

Also at MWC, Visa and Samsung announced that the Visa near-field communications mobile payment system will be built into future Samsung smartphones.

According to the agreement, financial institutions that are planning to launch mobile payment programs will be able to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices.

Samsung has also agreed to load the Visa payWave applet, which enables consumers to make contactless payments, onto its mobile devices featuring NFC technology.

Regarding its MasterPass initiative, MasterCard said it is the expansion and rebranding of its PayPass Wallet Services, which have been in production trials since last spring. The service enables consumers to use any credit card or enabled mobile device to make payments online, in-store or on the go.

Consumers can sign up for the MasterPass service through financial institutions in Australia and Canada by the end of March, and through those in the U.S. this spring. 

For in-store purchases either at the register or in the aisle, MasterPass will support the use of near-field communications, quick response codes, tags and mobile devices used at point of sale. For online purchases, MasterPass provides shoppers a streamlined check-out process by eliminating the need to enter shipping and card information with every purchase.

In addition, MasterCard is providing MasterPass-connected wallets that will enable banks, merchants and partners to offer their own wallets. Consumers can store card information, address books and other information in a secure cloud. The wallet accommodates other branded credit, debit and prepaid cards in addition to MasterCard.

The mobile payments market, which has been sputtering for a number of years, seems poised to take off this year, if MasterCard and Visa follow through with their initiatives.

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