MasterCard Heading Partnership To Financially Empower Mobile Phone Users

A partnership led by MasterCard Worldwide is trying to provide to mobile-phone users worldwide–and especially those in emerging markets–such formal financial services as funds transfers, bill payments, and purchases at brick and mortar and online merchants.

The MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program combines the efforts of MasterCard (payment processing), Comviva (mobile services beyond value-added services), Sybase Inc. (mobile information services) and Utiba Mobility Inc. (mobile wallet services) to help a market the partners describe as 2.5 billion consumers with phones who are underserved financially (see release).

According to Juniper Research, the combined market for all types of mobile payments is expected to reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013, double the current figure.

The partnership will offer MasterCard products and services that include prepaid cards usable at businesses that accept MasterCard, virtual cards for e-commerce payments that draw from a user’s mobile account, person-to-person payments between subscribers of different mobile-money services, and payments using mobile phones at merchants without traditional point-of-sale acceptance.