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Citi, MasterCard drive Google Wallet awareness through new ad initiative

The financial institutions are running the mobile ads within Pandora’s iPhone application. Additionally, both companies are further building the consumer-business relationship through branded radio stations.

Citi is a global financial services company which has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions.

MasterCard is a global payments and technology company and the second-largest payments franchise after Visa.

“The combination of advertising from all the large banks, manufacturers and retailers helps the industry and gets consumers familiar with the idea of mobile payments,” said Drew Sievers, CEO of mFoundry, Larkspur, CA. “At this stage, we are all selling the category, which means selling the idea of all mobile financial services first and then selling platforms such as the Google Wallet.

“The big battle is the fundamental shift in user behavior to getting people to use mobile financial services on their phones,” he said. “Everyone has to sell the idea of mobile financial services.”

Mr. Sievers is not affiliated with Citi or MasterCard. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Mobile wallet
Citi and MasterCard are running full-page and mobile banner ads within Pandora.

The mobile ads educate users about Google Wallet and encourage consumers to tap, pay and save time with Google Wallet and Citi MasterCard with PayPass.

Additionally, consumers can further engage with the companies by creating their own custom radio station within Pandora.

The ad lets users drag their favorite shopping method to launch their custom station.

There are three custom stations to choose from – online shopping, out in town and in-store.

Consumers can drag their favorite shopping method to the Drag Here tab and are automatically taken to their preferred radio station.

From there, users can also learn more about Google Wallet through the mobile banner ads featured in each radio station that constantly promote the mobile payment technology.

The Citi and MasterCard mobile banner ad

Through the ads, consumers can learn about the tap-and-pay technology, which merchants are participating and how it works.

Using mobile advertising to drive user engagement and education is a good way to get consumers onboard with the new technology.

Mobile payments are on the increase, albeit many consumers are still wary to use their mobile device as a form of payment.

Making the education more fun by incorporating an interactive angle – in this case letting users create their own custom radio station – helps Citi and MasterCard engage consumers on their handset.

Both companies have been significant supporters of Google Wallet, as well as in the mobile commerce space.

For example, MasterCard recently rolled out a new global initiative that aims to help financially underserved consumers access their financial information via mobile.

The MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program was developed to help the under-banked. The company is working with Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba on this mobile initiative (see story).

In addition, Citi recently expanded its mobile repertoire with the launch of a Kindle Fire application that lets consumers track, analyze and plan their finances.

The Citibank Kindle Fire app lets consumers access their finances no matter where they are. In addition to the new app, Citi has also rolled out two additional mobile banking capabilities – mobile check deposit and Citibank Popmoney (see story).

“This is indeed a good thing, with Citi and MasterCard promoting Google Wallet, which ties with NFC,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “This means that both are anticipating that Google Wallet could become the payment method that will eventually replace the physical cards.

“Although it is only available as an app through a few phones, as NFC gets more popular, the promotion of the ads will raise awareness,” she said.

“Mobile is growing at a fast pace and Google Wallet will help the consumer adoption rate.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York