MasterCard gives sneak peek into mobile payments future

The availability of Google Wallet will be announced within weeks

MasterCard on Thursday gave a sneak peek into the near future of mobile payment systems and said that the Google Wallet application is within weeks of being rolled out commercially.

Google Wallet, announced in May, lets mobile phone users pay for purchases in stores by tapping their phones against point-of-sale terminals. At the tail end of a media and analyst day in New York, MasterCard demonstrated the application as well as other, future mobile payments systems.

Initially, Google Wallet will work only on Nexus S phones, made by Samsung, on the Sprint network. Nexus S phones now on the market incorporate Near Field Communication (NFC) technology on an embedded chip, which allows for payment information to be transmitted via the tapping technique.

Google Wallet will work on PayPass terminals already deployed in stores, though some of the terminals will need an upgrade to work with the applications, according to officials at the demonstration. In the U.S., there are about 150,000 retail locations equipped with PayPass terminals, according to Kathleen Reilly, vice president and senior business leader at MasterCard, who said the Google Wallet application will be rolled out "within weeks."

Up to now, the PayPass terminals have worked with NFC chips embedded in cards or special stickers placed on the outside of mobile devices. However, chips embedded in mobile phones offer big advantages, according to Mario Shiliaski, senior vice president of Innovative Platforms.

"A big advantage is that the chips are embedded in secure elements in the hardware, and if they are compromised they are designed to self-destruct," Shiliaski said.

In addition, there will be a range of complementary applications for the technology that users will be able to download, Shiliaski noted. Google Wallets will initially offer the ability to store electronic coupons that can be redeemed at retail outlets, he said. Later this year, MasterCard's inControl will be available for download, he added. InControl is designed to let parents or employers establish parameters for when, where and how their cards are used. Users will get text messages, for example, when certain limits are met.

Major retailers including Macy's, Walgreens, Subway, Noah's Bagels, American Eagle, Bloomingdale's, Peet's Coffee and Toys 'R' Us have signed up to work with Google Wallet.

MasterCard also opened the kimono on a number of projects cooked up by the MasterCard Labs, established after the financial services giant acquired Dublin-based OrbisComm in 2009.

The projects demonstrated Thursday focused on the company's QkR platform, technology that embraces motion and audio signals as well as touch to allow for a range of applications. One application demonstrated Thursday allowed a phone user to scan a rebate coupon and share it via Facebook or Twitter.

"This allows for a different type of viral marketing, where people using this technology and sharing information with friends can get additional rebates," said Garry Lyons, chief innovation officer at MasterCard.

The social-network sharing technology is working now in a pilot with more than a hundred users, Lyons said. A more futuristic application involves audio signal technology. In one demonstration, audio signals embedded in a TV commercial were detected by a mobile phone application that a person could then use to download coupons related to the advertisement.

QkR technology goes beyond mobile phones, however. Lyons showed off one application where users could input payment information via the Xbox Kinect, using gesture recognition to select items and go through a checkout process.

Though some of the applications demonstrated by MasterCard are not likely to be rolled out any time soon, the company is looking to officially announce details related to the technology soon, possibly over the next few weeks, officials said.

The QkR platform, with its range of input capabilities, is a good hedge to the NFC-oriented Google Wallet application. NFC will have plenty of competition, including a PayPal mobile payment initiative announced Thursday that works by having mobile devices scan product bar codes and authorize payments through PayPal mobile accounts.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphonesGooglefinanceconsumer electronicsindustry verticalsmastercard

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Marc Ferranti

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?