Mastercard Wants to Avoid Visa/PayPal Drama

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There may be bumps along the way, but PayPal, Mastercard and Visa all share the same goal, according to Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga.

"At the end of the day everything is better when we don't use cash," said Banga during Thursday morning's Mastercard earnings call.

The day before, Mastercard announced a multi-year extension of the PayPal Extras Mastercard cobranded consumer credit card program in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Mastercard and PayPal have partnered for about a decade, and Banga praised PayPal's recent collaboration with Visa, following Visa CEO Charles Scharf's often combative relationship with PayPal.

"I'm really pleased to see a constructive dialogue regarding PayPal," Banga said. However, he noted: "We don’t have an announcement yet around the same general lines around the Visa deal."

The Visa/PayPal collaboration involves data sharing and PayPal promising to not urge consumers to fund their accounts via ACH—and giving Visa issuers equal visibility as funding options. "PayPal is working to resolve some of those concerns you all have around the lack of transparency," Banga said. "We have worked with PayPal for many years and the relationship is good."

The Visa/PayPal collaboration also involves a 12-month exclusivity period during which Visa issuers can promote their cards in the PayPal digital wallet. Mastercard has not noticed any impact on its issuers' business with PayPal because of that provision, Banga said.

Banga did not discuss how Mastercard's relationship with PayPal affects data sharing or other means to avoid direct competition, referencing a more general discussion with the payment company and a positive relationship that's reflected in collaborations such as the Extras card.

Banga also did not provide details on any potential agreement with PayPal to end "staged wallet" fees, or the charge Mastercard levies against digital wallet providers that do not agree to the card network's data sharing policies.

"If PayPal or any other wallet operation want to use our rails they can't just use our rails when it suits them," Banga said, adding PayPal does not need to negotiate a "special agreement," if it chooses to adhere to Mastercard's existing data sharing rules.

PayPal did not return a request for comment by deadline.

Banga also updated Mastercard's mobile-driven channel diversification, noting that millions of consumers are expected to autoenroll in its Masterpass digital wallet with their banks within the next few months.

"With Masterpass, consumers can now decide how and where they prefer to shop whether that's online or in store," Banga said, noting about 80 million accounts should be automatically enabled by the end of the year.

The Masterpass expansion is part of Mastercard's "digital by default" strategy, which allows Masterpass issuers to differentiate their mobile wallets by using the card network's open APIs to integrate other Mastercard services.

For the quarter ending June 30, Mastercard reported net income of $983 million, an increase of about 8% on a currency neutral basis from the prior year's $905 million. Earnings per share were $0.89, up 11%. Net revenue as $2.7 billion, a 13% increase over $2.35 billion in the same period in 2015.

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