MasterCard mobile digital wallet will arrive Down Under in March

"Open" wallet supports MasterCard and "other branded credit, debit and prepaid cards".

MasterPass is the new name for PayPass Wallet, announced last year. Credit: MasterCard

MasterPass is the new name for PayPass Wallet, announced last year. Credit: MasterCard

MasterCard has announced it will launch MasterPass Down Under next month, with the credit card company already securing partnerships with several major Australian banks and retailers.

MasterCard said the mobile wallet is the “evolution” of PayPass Wallet, which was announced last May.

For online payments, the digital wallet allows users to pay from a list of pre-stored cards and shipping addresses stored in the digital wallet. In the store, merchants supporting MasterPass will be able to accept mobile contactless payments using near field communication (NFC) technology or QR codes, MasterCard said.

“With a simple click, tap or touch—online, in-store or anywhere—using any payment card or enabled device, MasterPass gives Australians access to a range of cards in their digital wallet with one button,” MasterCard said.

MasterCard didn’t mention support for Visa or American Express cards in its news release, but indicated that the digital wallet can hold more cards than MasterCard.

“The wallet is open, which means that in addition to MasterCard cards, consumers can use other branded credit, debit and prepaid cards."

"This includes cards issued by other banks not listed in today’s announcement, as well as other payment scheme cards," a MasterCard spokeswoman said. "However, we plan to build additional special features and functionality that work better with MasterCard cards."

MasterCard didn’t specify which smartphones and mobile operating systems can play its mobile app. However, a spokeswoman told Computerworld Australia that MasterPass works on "any smart device with a browser."

The iPhone does not include an NFC chip, but the technology is included in several recent Android, Windows and BlackBerry smartphones.

The wallet also supports loyalty programs, and MasterCard said banks, merchants and partners will be able to provide customers with their own branded MasterPass-connected wallets.

MasterCard has partnered with Australian banks Westpac, ME Bank, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank (NAB). Retail partners include JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Roses Only and Amalgamated Holdings Limited, which owns Event Cinemas and other entertainment brands.

In total, MasterPass will be supported at more than 5900 merchants worldwide through the partnerships, plus MasterCard’s existing relationships with service providers and payment gateways, the credit card company said.

"For merchants, we have designed MasterPass’ online payment integration to be simple," the MasterCard spokeswoman said. "Beta merchants have competed integrations in as short as a week, and the process may be even faster for merchants already working with one of our partners."

"Not yet available in Australia, our MasterPass Services will include our existing NFC contactless payment solution PayPass," the spokeswoman said. "MasterPass will be a combination of multiple services that will include not only contactless payments but other types of in-store checkouts to come in the future as well as online shopping options."

"MasterPass is specifically designed to work with our existing NFC/contactless payment terminals, of which Australia has over 100,000 deployed across the country and over 700,000 worldwide."

The announcement follows news last week that Coles will trial a mobile app allowing Coles MasterCard customers to pay for groceries using NFC-equipped smartphones.

Visa and Vodafone announced an NFC-based mobile payments app last year.

Banks, telcos, payment and technology companies are all expected to compete for control over consumers’ digital wallets.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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Tags QR codessmartphoneonline shoppingmastercardecommercePaymentsNear Field Communications (NFC)mobile digital wallet

More about American Express AustraliaBlackBerryCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaHarvey Norman HoldingsNABNational Australia BankNFCNormanNormanQRRoses OnlyVisaVodafoneWestpacWestpac

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