Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) has announced that it is moving into the mobile payments sector. The credit card payment giant announced earlier this month that it would continue focusing on growing its business while also buying back $2 billion in stock and doubling its quarterly dividend.
The Financial Times reports that MasterCard’s push into the mobile payments sector will include mobile checkout options for brick and mortar, online merchants and a digital wallet. The new offering will be called MasterPass, and MasterCard showed it off at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.
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Of course, Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) has accepted online payments for many years, however, those payments still required users to fill out their credit card numbers online. Many consumers don’t want to do that on their mobile devices, either because they’re concerned about security or because it just isn’t as easy to enter that information on a smaller screen as it is on a full-sized computer.
MasterPass’ digital wallet is basically an app that enables consumers to store their loyalty card and payment card information, plus their shipping addresses. The app will also accept cards from a number of MasterCard’s competitors.
The other element of MasterPass is the ability for merchants to accept digital payments. Online this will appear as a MasterPass payment option, just as MasterCard and other payment options appear now. In stores, consumers will be able to scan a QR code and pay for items immediately. MasterCard’s spokesperson said the service will also incorporate loyalty card information to help consumers make the most of their digital wallet.
Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) said MasterPass would become available in Canada and Australia by the end of next month, in the U.S. by spring and in the U.K. by summer. The company will partner with a number of other companies to roll out the service, like U.K. retailers Boots and Argos and American Airlines. A number of financial institutions have already signed up for MasterPass as well, including Banco Santander, S.A. (NYSE:SAN) (MCE:SAN), UniCredit SpA (BIT:UCG) (BIT:UCGR), Swedbank AB (PINK:SWDBY) (STO:SWED-A), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C), Paribas, BNP and Westpac Banking Corporation (NYSE:WBK) (ASX:WBC).
The company believes all merchants who currently accept Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) payments will begin accepting MasterPass within the next two years.