MasterCard Exec: MasterPass Aims to Help Merchants ‘Differentiate’ in Converging Marketplace (April 25, 2013)
The U.S. rollout this spring of MasterCard’s MasterPass may be quieter than some other product launches because it doesn’t directly target consumers, Ed Olebe, group head, wallet services, emerging payments, MasterCard, said this week at CARTES America in Las Vegas. MasterPass, unveiled earlier this year as the successor to last year’s PayPass Wallet Services and already live in the U.S., “is not a direct consumer play,” but instead aims to help merchants and financial institutions cope with an increasingly complex marketplace where online, mobile and POS are converging, Olebe said. Free to consumers, the MasterPass wallet simplifies shopping with one click, using any credit or debit card. It launched in Canada and Australia earlier this year with several merchant partners and later this year will expand to Brazil, China, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain and Sweden.
For merchants, MasterPass offers a versatile platform that can deliver a light or heavy amount of MasterCard’s technology to enhance in-store, mobile and e-commerce efforts, Olebe explained. “As channels converge, merchants want the customer experience to be consistent, efficient, simple and secure, but they also want to differentiate themselves.” MasterCard can support convergence across an ever-growing number of ways to pay, including in-store, in-aisle and at the register via contactless or cloud-based via NFC tags, QR codes, Bluetooth and barcode use and online through all types of devices, Olebe explained. “As a merchant, you decide what features make your approach different…and MasterCard can support it.” Fees for the service will vary, Olebe said. “First we want to grow volume, then we will charge for value-added services,” such as risk-management, consulting and data-analysis, he said.
Building such a broad service in a rapidly converging marketplace is challenging, Olebe conceded, adding that MasterPass is a work in progress. As for whether MasterPass may have to fight to differentiate itself from Visa Inc.’s V.me digital wallet, Olebe said he doesn’t fear too much overlap. “I believe we are at the forefront with this [merchant-focused] platform approach and we feel a lot of momentum building around it.”