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Contactless mobile payments must prove value-add for retailers: Waspit

Emerging alternate payments options such as mobile contactless payments need to be better, faster and cheaper than card-based methods for retailers while also giving consumers greater control in the process, according to Waspit Ltd.

It is critical that retailers buy into the discussions on emerging payment platforms and that their participation is essential at an early stage if the services are to fully address their operational and commercial objectives, per Waspit. The company is partnering with MasterCard to power contactless mobile payments.

“MasterCard has been very proactive in making their platform available to mobile payment operators,” said Richard Steggall , CEO of Waspit www.waspit.com, London. “By partnering with the likes of MasterCard, not only do we immediately benefit from the millions of retailers Waspit users can pay for things using their mobile, but we also get to tap in to their security and processing expertise so as to provide an optimal service to a Waspit user.

“Very simply, Waspit is accepted anywhere MasterCard PayPass is accepted,” he said. “This includes the likes of McDonalds, Duane Reade, Ikea, 7-Eleven and hundreds of thousands of smaller retailers around the world.”

Creating buzz for contactless mobile payments
BuzzPay is Waspit’s contactless mobile payments system, which is available to all consumers across all mobile networks.

BuzzPay is available using both NFC-capable handsets and by using contactless stickers that can be affixed to the back of phones that are not NFC-capable.

Waspit BuzzPay users can pay for purchases anywhere MasterCard PayPass is accepted worldwide.

Unlike other mobile contactless services that operate on a closed-loop basis—that is, on their own merchant terminals—Waspit has adopted an open-loop approach to its terminal network by way of its relationship with MasterCard.

This means that Waspit users can use their BuzzPay account at more than 23,000 locations across Britain, including McDonalds, Ikea and EAT.

MasterCard PayPass terminals are also common across the U.S.

Mr. Steggall said that his company’s open-loop approach means that Waspit can now appeal directly to consumers, rather than having to first roll out an expensive merchant network.

Waspit is running a joint initiative with Yates’s, one of Britian’s leading pub chains. The social media and viral campaign is designed to increase user sign-up. 

Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Waspit’s Mr. Steggall. Here is what he had to say:

What level of demand have you experienced from retailers/merchants for mobile payments over the course of this year so far? What do you expect for 2011?
In recent times, Waspit has met with a number of the tier-one retailers in Britain and the U.S.

The feedback is clear. Retailers are wanting to be proactive in embracing emerging solutions like mobile contactless payments, but the solution needs to be better, faster and cheaper than card-based methods. 

They also want the solution to give the consumer greater control in the process.

What retailers are also realizing is that mobile contactless payments are creating so many new options when it comes to behavioral marketing and loyalty programs.

For companies like Waspit who operate an open-loop model, retailers are already very much advanced in this area.

As retailers upgrade their older merchant facilities, the new facilities being installed are NFC-capable.

What is the strategy behind Waspit’s partnership with MasterCard?
MasterCard has been very proactive in making their platform available to mobile payment operators.

By partnering with the likes of MasterCard, not only do we immediately benefit from the millions of retailers Waspit users can pay for things using their mobile, but we also get to tap in to their security and processing expertise so as to provide an optimal service to a Waspit user.

Which merchants/retailers can accept mobile contactless payments via Waspit’s platform?
Very simply, Waspit is accepted anywhere MasterCard PayPass is accepted.  This includes the likes of McDonalds, Duane Reade, Ikea, 7-Eleven and hundreds of thousands of smaller retailers around the world.

What is the current state of mobile payments, including contactless mobile payments, and what is its potential?
The mobile networks and banks have only in the past 12 months realized the enormity of mobile payments.

There are many now proposing pilot programmes designed to test the feasibility of full roll-outs, but there are very few that have actually commenced a full roll-out. 

Waspit will be the first in Britain to commence a full commercial roll-out. Others are still at pilot stage.

Waspit are working through extensive regulatory process to bring its BuzzPay mobile contactless payment solution into the U.S.

We expect to be in a position to launch it in the U.S. in late spring 2011.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily