MWC:MasterCard adds in-app payments to MasterPass mobile platform

MasterCard also said it has entered into an agreement to acquire C-SAM

MasterCard is helping to bring impulse buying to the world of apps by adding the ability to make purchases within a mobile app to its MasterPass service, which lets consumers store payment information on their devices and purchase items with a tap on the display.

Apps with MasterPass embedded in them let consumers complete a purchase with a click or touch on their connected device without leaving the app environment. The credit card giant announced the new feature at the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, a year after the initial launch of the current browser-based MasterPass at the same venue.

The MasterPass service supports a range of payment methods, such as near-field communication technology, QR codes, and tags.

"MasterPass provides consumers with a fast, simple payment experience, wherever they are," said MasterCard Chief Emerging Payments Officer Ed McLaughlin in an interview.

"There's no 'one way versus another way' here, that's not the point. We're enabling consumers to make payments at checkout counters, from a mobile phone, laptop or even at a turnstile -- wherever they happen to be," McLaughlin said.

Data from ABI Research shows that overall revenue from mobile applications, including in-app purchases, will reach US$46 billion by 2016, more than five times greater than the $8.5 billion generated in 2011, MasterCard noted in its announcement.

With the average global smart device user having downloaded 26 apps, consumers are storing payment card and other sensitive information with numerous app providers to set up accounts and make purchases, MasterCard said.

But MasterPass in-app payments eliminate the need to store payment card credentials across numerous mobile apps, enhancing security, McLaughlin pointed out.

MasterCard said that Forbes Digital Commerce, Fat Zebra, MLB Advanced Media, NoQ, Starbucks Australia and Shaw Theatres Singapore are among the first app providers that will power their in-app purchasing capabilities with MasterPass.

MasterCard also said it has entered into an agreement to acquire C-SAM, a provider of mobile wallet and on-device software and services, to speed the development and deployment of mobile wallets and payment solutions globally.

The two companies had formed a partnership in December 2012, and MasterCard already had taken a minority stake in C-SAM. C-SAM technology was used in the ISIS mobile payment joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the U.S.

C-SAM technology has also been used in systems in India, Japan, Mexico,and Singapore. The C-SAM platform supports customer-specific offers, loyalty incentives, banking, bill-pay options and non-financial secure transactions.

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