MasterCard has upgraded its MasterPass digital wallet to enable purchases from within mobile applications.

"When you are shopping in the store you are interfacing with the cashier or a cash register and are paying by tapping, swiping or dipping for EMV payments. Over time this experience will change and we'll also see in-aisle purchases with applications that are downloaded from the merchant or merchant aggregator as people look to pay while they are shopping," says Mario Shiliashki, senior vice president of emerging payments for MasterCard.

MasterPass in-app payments will be made available to developers and merchants beginning in the second quarter, leveraging an open development model. "We believe that the platform that we built on top of our network is something that others can innovate on top of," Shiliashki says.

The initial users of MasterPass in-app payments include Forbes Digital Commerce, Fat Zebra, MLB Advanced Media, NoQ, Starbucks Australia and Shaw Theaters Singapore, the card network says.

By adding in-app payments, MasterCard is extending the purchase capabilities of the browser-based MasterPass digital services, enabling payments with a single click or touch of the mobile screen without leaving the merchant's app.

"This fully aligns with our philosophy to make in-app commerce as easy and efficient as possible," says Robert Tibbs, chairman and CEO of Forbes Digital Commerce, in a Feb. 24 press release.

MasterCard is also attempting to reach consumers who are storing payment card and other information with a number of app providers. The average smartphone users has downloaded 26 apps, according to research from Phone Arena. The number of mobile app purchase is also expected to increase in the coming years, according to ABI Research.

MasterPass debuted in Canada in April 2013 and the card network has been gradually expanding it to more countries and merchants. MasterPass is now available at more than 30,000 merchants in Australia, Canada, Italy, the U.K. and the United States.

While in-app purchases will help merchants serve consumers who are shopping in the store and making purchase via mobile apps, it's not necessarily a play against showrooming (the practice of researching an item in a store but buying it online), Shiliashki says.

"That has always happened. People have found an item in one store then went to another store to compare process. Showrooming is here to stay," Shiliashki says.

Providing good value or service is the key to keeping consumers from choosing another merchant, Shiliashki adds. "We're focused on the convergence between the physical and digital worlds as we go forward with MasterPass."

Other digital wallet providers, such as Google Wallet and PayPal, have also recently added support for in-app payments.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry