MasterCard is placing more emphasis on things like airline boarding, wearable computing and many other things the card network contends can be used to win a consumer's business long before the payment is made.
"We are investing in getting beyond payments to other services," said Ajay Banga, MasterCard's CEO, during an investor conference in New York on Sept. 11. "The key is having the data and the technology."
MasterCard's MasterPass, a digital wallet that supports mobile and e-commerce payments without the consumer needing to type in card credentials for subsequent purchases, is live in the U.S., U.K. Canada and Australia. MasterCard plans to introduce MasterPass next in Brazil, Belgium, France, Italy, Singapore, Sweden and Spain.
There are 20,000 merchants in the U.S. that accept MasterPass, MasterCard said at the investor event.
"MasterPass is digital MasterCard, it will provide a global interoperable platform supporting all types of digital transactions in-store, in app or online," said Ed McLaughlin, MasterCard's chief emerging payments officer.
MasterCard Labs also demonstrated how wearable computing devices can be used for digital shopping. Google Glass had a limited launch this summer, and many payment companies are testing the technology.
"MasterCard Labs has enabled Google Glass for MasterPass payments," McLaughlin said. "The shopping experience is a major driver of the world beyond cash."
MasterPass is based on MasterCard's PayPass Wallet an earlier mobile wallet that borrowed branding form MasterCard's PayPass contactless payment system.
At the point of sale, PayPass is also expanding, with penetration beyond 20 percent in Canada, Australia and Poland and an average transaction size of about $21.
"That's cash displacement," said Gary Flood, MasterCard's president of global products and solutions.
While payments data presents a major opportunity to expand merchant and customer relationshipsPayPal used the same message at a recent investor event there are a lot of players that also have payments data, says Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst at Aite Group.
It will be a difficult road ahead for MasterCard as well as for all others competing for a piece of the mobile commerce action. They are right to be trying lots of different options as there is no telling what types of solutions will achieve widespread consumer adoption when it comes to digital wallets, he says.
MasterCard demonstrated many of the existing products that use its technology to combine mobile devices, digital shopping and payments.
ShopThis! with MasterPass is a product built on a partnership between MasterCard, Intel, and PhiSix Fashion Labs. It allows consumers to buy products directly from Intel's virtual shopping site. which includes an interactive 3D virtual fitting room.
Its QkR app, pronounced "quicker," is being piloted by Legends Hospitalitya stadium concession company whose owners include the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboysto enable fans to order and pay for food from their seat. QkR also includes an app for school payments.
Other MasterCard-supported products include Parkeon, an app that provides local coupons each time a consumer uses MasterCard to pay for parking; Quantas Cash, a loyalty and boarding card from Quantas Airlines that permits users to pre-load foreign currency to spend at MasterCard merchants; Fuel Rewards Network, a partnership between MasterCard, gas stations and merchants to provide discount fuel purchases at participating grocery stores; Digital Food, a partnership with the World Food Program that enables electronic commerce in cash-dominant regions; and Simplify Commerce, a program that empowers merchants to accept Web and mobile payments regardless of the payments brand.
"About half of consumers already have a quick-order app on their smartphone," says Richard Crone, a payments consultant. "MasterCard knows that in order to not be a dumb pipe they have to vertically integrate."
In a similar example, "PayPal recently integrated check in with check out. That lets the merchant know where consumers are and that they are ready to buy," Crone says.
MasterCard's partnerships improve its ability to gather and analyze the data that's used for CRM, and can expand MasterCard's own share of its merchants' business, Flood said.
"The data and information behind it is a core foundation to what we do with clients," Flood said. "Merchants want the value of reaching the right customer at the right time and they are willing to pay for it."