MasterCard’s digital wallet a nod to how mobile is driving multichannel convergence

By Chantal Tode


Mastercard's digital wallet will enable mobile payments via NFC


MasterCard is the latest company to throw its hat into the ring for digital payments with a new suite of services intended to simplify the use of making purchases on smartphones.

PayPass Wallet Services brings MasterCard’s PayPass in-store contactless payment brand to the Internet for the first time. The strategy includes a digital wallet that is open and can store credit, debit and prepaid cards as well as coupons and other offers from a variety of sources.

“We’ve been the leader in mobile payments around the world, and have been working on several of the building blocks of what now comprises PayPass Wallet Services,” said Geoff Iddision, group executive for e-commerce at MasterCard, Purchase, NY.

“We believe this is the right time to announce and deploy our strategy,” he said. ”While others have made similar announcements, we have yet to see them gain traction.

“Mobile plays an important role in the deployment of PayPass Wallet Services with smartphones continuing to evolve the payments landscape every day. PayPass Wallet Services will allow consumers to transact from anywhere, whether that’s through the tap and go of a smartphone using NFC, the touch of a screen showing the Buy With PayPass button or management through an iOS/Android-specific mobile application.”

NFC bridge
According to MasterCard, its solution is different from other digital wallets in that it can easily be integrated for merchants.

To make a purchase with the PayPass Wallet, consumers click on a PayPass Wallet icon on participating standard and mobile Web sites, then enter a user name and password. This automatically completes the transactions via the default credit card account for the wallet.

Users are not required to enter a 16-digit credit card number or their shipping and billing address.

The solution is designed to make it easy for consumers to make purchases online via a mobile device, PC or Internet-connected TV. Near-field communications enabled smartphones can also be used for tap-and-go purchases made at bricks-and-mortar retail stores that have PayPass-enabled point-of-sale terminals.

Barnes & Noble and American Airlines are the first merchants signed on to put the PayPass checkout button on their Web sites. American Airlines will also integrate PayPass Wallet into its mobile app.

Other merchants working with MasterCard’s PayPass Wallet Services include Jagex, JB Hi-Fi, MLB Advanced Media, Newegg,, and Wine Enthusiast Companies.

MasterCard will be offering a suite of digital wallet services and developer tools to banks, merchants and their partners to make it easier to connect other wallets into the PayPass Online acceptance network.

Owning the gateway
The service is comprised of three components. PayPass Acceptance Network, which includes PayPass Online and PayPass Contactless, will help merchants accept electronic payments across multiple channels while giving consumers a simple check-out process.

PayPass Wallet is a suite a digital wallet solutions enabling merchants to create their own branded wallets. Shoppers can store payment and shipping information in one convenient and secure place while being able to use a variety of credit, debit and prepaid cards to fund their purchases.

PayPass API allows partners to connect their own digital wallets into the PayPass Acceptance Network.

MasterCard will make PayPass Wallet Services available to partners in the third quarter of 2012, initially in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.

The services will be expanded to the point-of-sale over time, enabling the delivery of targeted offers, coupons and enhanced loyalty programs.

“I think there is a battle raging that is not part of the press release,” said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, Toronto, Canada, and author of “The Impulse Economy.”

“It is a battle to own the financial relationship with the consumer – Apple, Google, Visa, ISIS, all want to be the landlord for the secure credentials,” he said. “The winner owns big data and all the money that flows from this.

“MasterCard’s open door policy to third parties is a Trojan strategy to be the gatekeeper — everyone wants this privileged role. The dust has not settled on this two-sided business debate and will not for many years. But remember, the guy who owns the gateway owns big data.”