MasterPass is essentially a shortcut to online payments with a credit card. The service will be available on mobile and web pages, first in Australia and Canada, with the rest of the world to follow. The launch of the new service will see certain websites with an added option for customers to pay with MasterPass.
MasterPass is an upgrade from its PayPass Wallet Services. With the new MasterPass, businesses can integrate it and customize the payment experience, be it through NFC transactions, QR codes, or purely online payments. According to MasterCard senior vice president Ed Olebe, more than a few retailers are looking for ways to enhance the traditional shopping experience with the sort of flexibility that digital modes of payment afford consumers.
Here’s the official description from MasterCard’s website:
“With MasterPass, we’re reinventing how you shop. Making it possible to pay for the things you want with the security you demand, through the simple click of a mouse, touch of a tablet or tap of a smartphone. Whether you’re at home, in a store or on the go.”
What’s interesting to note about the new announcement is that MasterCard chose Australia as the first country for rolling out the new power feature. MasterCard’s Head of Market Development and Innovation, Matt Barr, said that Australia was picked not as a test bed, but because because Australians were early technology adopters, and the country was experiencing a rapid growth in smartphone sales and e-commerce. He also assured that the new service as 100 percent secure, with no information held by the merchants but by MasterCard itself.
How fast is smartphone penetration in Australia growing? Research firm Frost & Sullivan recently released a new Mobile Device Usage Trends report which shows 68 percent of 15 to 65-year-olds now have smartphones, with penetration among the whole population at 41 percent. With a population of almost 23 million, that would mean that there are more than 9 million smartphone owners in Australia now. Frost & Sullivan also anticipates the penetration to increase to 65 percent by 2017.
In another separate report on e commerce growth, PayPal Australia has found the country’s online commerce growing at 7 percent year-on-year, which will eventually see it hit the forecasted figure of AUD34.8 billion (US$35.67 billion) by 2013, up from a figure of AUD29.7 billion (US$30.44 billion) for 2011.
Other than MasterCard, Visa is also actively innovating on their products offering. They recently launched a new plug-and-play mobile money platform that will make it more cost-efficient for financial institutions and mobile operators to offer financial services for their customers and simplify transactions.
Startups aside, corporations are also actively innovating to leverage on the growing smartphone penetration as well as e-commerce growth around the world.