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MasterCard extends MasterPass mobile payments to in-app purchases

MasterPass is coming to mcommerce apps

Starbucks Australia and Major League Baseball are among the first marketers to leverage MasterCard’s new in-application purchasing capabilities introduced today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

MasterPass is MasterCard’s digital wallet was previously available to merchants for embedding in their mobile and desktop ecommerce sites. By bringing the wallet to in-app purchases, MasterCard is addressing the way that consumers are increasingly shopping with their favorite retailers using a retail branded app at home, on the go and in-store.

“As people more and more shop at merchant locations via their apps, and not on the browser or as well as the browser, more sites and apps coexist,” said Mario Shiliashki, senior vice president and group head, U.S. emerging payments lead at MasterCard, Purchase, NY. “Many people find the app experience better.

“MasterPass in-app payments will not only augment the online shopping experience but also the in-store experience,” he said.

“A person used to interacting with a store associate or using self service can have a much richer experience with a merchant’s app. This will be enhanced greatly with the ability to embed MasterCard payments in the app, enabling this converged experience between online and in-store.”

Retail apps
Consumers have embraced mobile apps, with the average global smart device user having downloaded 26 apps, per MasterCard. As a result, many have stored payment card and other sensitive information with numerous app providers.

By enabling merchants to embed MasterPass as a payment option in their apps, MasterCard is looking to make mobile purchases easier for consumers by providing a way for them to not have to key into their payment card information within multiple apps.

Additionally, using MasterPass to pay inside an app will provide a streamlined experience involving one or two clicks in many cases, without the need to leave the app environment.

Additional merchants already signed on include Forbes Digital Commerce, Fat Zebra, NoQ and Shaw Theatres Singapore.

To use MasterPass in apps or on a Web site, consumers must first sign up online for MasterPass.

MasterPass in-app payments will be available at the beginning of the second quarter.

Mobile payments
The MasterPass news is the latest example of how MasterCard is building out its presence in mobile payments and follows last week’s news that the company would support Google’s Host Card Emulation, thereby enabling in-store contactless payments for MasterCard card holders with an Android phone.

MasterPass is already available in several markets, including Australia, Canada, the United States, Brazil and Sweden. There are more than 30,000 merchants online in these locations.

The company’s expectation is that by introducing in-app payments, this will accelerate the roll out of MasterPass.

App developers will be able to access the in-app payments API through MasterCard’s open developer platform, which launched a year ago, as well as directly from the company.

The strategy points to the growing role for retail shopping apps.

“We see a lot of merchants moving to designing their own apps with a number of really cool functionalities,” Mr. Shiliashki said.

“Bricks-and -clicks merchants are trying to use their physical presence that other traditional online merchants can’t by being able to browse aisles, scan products and get more information, get instant discounts and loyalty points as well as see related items and shipping information directly in the aisle,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York