With so much focus on specific mobile devices and form factors for delivering a payment, banks and issuers can lose sight of the fact that consumers will ultimately decide how and when they will pay, said Cheryl Guerin, executive vice president and U.S. product and solutions lead for MasterCard Inc.
It's up to issuers to build the right relationships with consumers, and MasterCard is working on providing tools to issuers to emphasize the relationship rather than the end result of moving money, Guerin said at SourceMedia's annual Card Forum and Expo, taking place this week in Chicago.
Consumers expect much more from those they will have a relationship with, Guerin said. Companies such as Coca-Cola and Uber have been successful in creating these connections, with Uber in particular building payment seamlessly into its alternative taxi service, she said.
To this end, MasterCard is developing In Reach, a dashboard that issuers can provide millennial consumers to help them build their financial lives with tools that are relevant to them, such as an app that lets users comb through their social media profiles to remove any photos they wouldn't want a prospective employer to see.
Issuers would also use In Reach to provide financial education, help with the consumer's job search, aid in money management and provide perks. It also represents a new source of information [about these consumers] for issuers, Guerin added. In Reach is "in progress but close to official launch," she said.
In the U.K., MasterCard is working with the restaurant chain Wagamama to create an app that allows users to review their checks and pay at the table. The same process they use to link their MasterPass account to their check providing a code to the waiter is also used to split a check with a fellow patron who uses the app.
This app is also focused on the experience, not the payment, Guerin said. It eliminates that half hour it takes when you are trying to get a waiter to pay, and thats when your kids are going through a meltdown, she said.
MasterCard is also exploring more uses of biometric authentication for mobile purchases. Specifically, it is looking at technologies like facial recognition, which builds on an existing and narcissistic consumer practice. "Now we actually have a real purpose for a selfie in this world," she said.
The goal of all of these programs is to duplicate the success Starbucks has found with its app, which has found the sweet spot in unifying mobile payments and loyalty, Guerin said.
Starbucks reported late last year that 16% of its U.S. in-store transactions come through its mobile app. In addition, more than 90% of a total of $1.3 billion in mobile pay sales in 2013 took place at Starbucks.
MasterCard has created a similar program for Yankee Stadium, which uses MasteCard's Qkr app to let fans order food from an app rather than passing cash across the bleachers.
This allows them to spend more time enjoying the game with their friends, which is what they are supposed to be doing, rather than hunting down concessions, Guerin said.
Daniel Wolfe contributed reporting to this story.