MasterCard Inc. has certified On Track Innovations Ltd.’s Wave Near Field Communication device, which plugs into a phone's headphone jack to allow consumers to make contactless mobile payments.

Many NFC-based payments systems, including Google Wallet and Isis, rely primarily on phones that have a built-in NFC chip or can be equipped with a special SIM card or a sleeve. OTI's approach instead resembles that of Square, by making the payments hardware a small plug-in that can be added or removed at the user's convenience.

“Receiving certification from MasterCard provides essential validation of our technology platform,” says Ofer Tziperman, OTI’s CEO, in an Oct. 16 press release. “We can now begin to target large-scale implementations with banking institutions and payment card providers, as well as projects involving public transportation, institutional memberships and loyalty and rewards programs.”

The OTI Wave plug-in communicates with software on the user's handset to access offers or loyalty programs. Mobile apps can also be used to add funds to the Wave ePurse stored-value account connected to the OTI Wave device.

While NFC technology has sometimes struggled in the U.S., it has been more successful in other regions, including Canada, Europe and Australia.

“NFC is becoming increasingly recognized as the fastest, most efficient, most versatile and secured method for payment transactions, and this certification by MasterCard positions us to capitalize on the major industry shift,” Tziperman says. 

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