Mastercard's Masterpass digital wallet is gaining steam from a new enrollment feature that puts issuers in control, according to Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga.

The card brand's Digital by Default, which allows issuers to automatically enroll consumers in MasterPass through online banking apps, is on pace to enroll 18 million accounts over the next few months, Banga said during Mastercard's earnings call on Oct. 28.

"We're looking to be on all devices in all channels," Banga said. "You grow acceptance by being ubiquitous."

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga
Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga Bloomberg News

Mastercard's efforts to make Masterpass ubiquitous include global efforts to embed the digital wallet into existing payment processes. For example, Banga noted more than 4.5 million users in South Africa have registered for a service that uses Masterpass to purchase mobile airtime. "People can pay for airtime in minutes, where they used to have to stand in line or go to an ATM," Banga said.

The card network has also partnered with a Czech Railways to integrate Masterpass into booking apps, and entered a similar collaboration with Trenitalia. The card network also recently introduced Masterpass to nearly three dozen countries in Africa.

Overall, Masterpass is now available at more than 300,000 online merchants and 6 million in-store locations globally, Banga said.

"We're trying ensure that one of the brands in the checkout page is Masterpass," he said, adding Mastercard's APIs are designed to make it easy to connect Masterpass to merchant or issuer systems.

The CEO added the digital wallet should get yet another boost from agreements with to integrate Masterpass with Samsung Pay and Android Pay.

"The merchants also benefit since they many have already adopted Masterpass," Banga said. "This will give them access to millions of consumers."

For the quarter ending Sept. 30, Mastercard reported net income of $1.2 billion, or $1.08 per share, compared to $977 million, or 86 cents during the same period last year. Revenue was $2.9 billion, compared to $2.5 billion a year earlier and above analysts expectations, according to Bloomberg.

The performance was driven by a steady economy in the U.S., an economic recovery in Europe and improved conditions in India and Latin America, Banga said, adding currency weakness on the U.K. following the Brexit vote was being offset by increased travel to the U.K. A currency devaluation does not necessarily lead to increased tourist or business travel and payments in all cases, Banga cautioned.

Mastercard also hopes to expand into China, and is seeking clarity on the country's new regulations. Masterpass is already available in China, though like most outside companies attempting to establish a domestic payment scheme, Mastercard faces a tough regulatory environment and the expense of building a local infrastructure for certain processes.

"We want a more detailed interpretation of security provisions and how this will impact onsite switching while protecting data. We hope that will be done in the next couple of months," Banga said, adding Mastercard has entered into issuer deals with Chinese banks including HSBC and China Construction Bank. The companies will initially focus on affluent consumers and cross-border spending, Banga said.

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