CTIA: MasterCard puts digital wallet in shoppers' virtual pocket

May 8, 2012

MasterCard unveiled its Pass Wallet Services, a new digital wallet product for banks, merchants and partners meant to ease the process of buying both in-store and online. Among other things, the PayPass Wallet reduces the process of ordering, paying and entering personal information when shopping online, a particularly tedious process when done on a tiny smartphone screen, to one click.

The wallet, which MaterCard unveiled Monday at a CTIA Wirless 2012 pre-conference event in New Orleans, actually consists of several components all meant to make shopping online and offline easier:  The PayPass Acceptance Network, made up of PayPass Online and PayPass Contactless tools, the PayPass Wallet, and PayPass API. The components give shoppers a suite of tools to make shopping easier while also providing developers with a set of tools to connect other wallets into the PayPass Online acceptance network, MasterCard said.

The PayPass Acceptance Network is the heart of the digital wallet effort. It provides a seamless, consistent experience to shoppers by helping merchants accept electronic payments across multiple on- or offline channels. It's especially helpful for online shopping where it stores detailed shipping and credit card information, simplifying the check-out process.

PayPass Wallet is where consumers actually store the information. It's a white label solution meaning banks, merchants or partners can use the technology to provide their own branded wallet to consumers. It's also completely open so consumers can store and use any credit, debit or prepaid card, even those from competing card brands like Amex or Discover.

The final piece of the digital wallet, the PayPass API, allows developers and partners to connect into the PayPass Acceptance Network. That gives them access to MasterCard’s check-out, fraud detection and authentication services and lets their customers make purchases wherever PayPass is accepted.

American Airlines and Barnes & Noble are among the companies partnering with MasterCard and offering PayPass Online check-out buttons on their websites. American Airlines will also integrate PayPass Wallet into its mobile application. Representatives from both companies were on hand at the event to discuss the digital wallets.

"Consumers are at a pivotal point now where smartphone adoption has exploded and well over 50 percent of Americans now own one," Barnes & Noble.com VP Marc Parrish, said in the announcement. "The technology that will allow customers to make mobile payments at the point of sale has already begun to make a difference, and Barnes & Noble is proud to be leading retail in this technology shift."

Other partners include financial institutions like Citi and Fifth Third, retailers such as Newegg and Runningshoes.com, and technology providers including C-SAM and mFoundry.

The PayPass Wallet Services will be available to partners beginning Q3 2012. It will be available in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia at first and then rolled out worldwide. Eventually, the services will be expanded to the point of sale to create an end-to-end shopping experience for consumers, MasterCard said.

Topics: Carriers / Operators , CTIA The Wireless Association , Mobile/Digital Wallet

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