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MasterCard tees up VR, wearables commerce at PGA tournament

MasterCard is once again trialling its latest payment innovations at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where this year’s attendees can experiment with a connected payments glove and experience virtual reality commerce.

The financial institution is tapping into its sponsorship of the golfing tournament to experiment more with a slew of payments and wearable technologies, and this year’s invitational is no exception. Attendees will be able to purchase equipment while interacting with a commerce-enabled virtual reality experience and also pilot a glove on which users simply tap the point-of-sale system to purchase refreshments.

“Whether it is at API, the Grammy’s or the MLB All-Star game, MasterCard looks for opportunities to maximize its sponsorships by bringing new innovations directly to consumers,” said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing officer at MasterCard. “For years we have known that experiences matter more to people than things.

“And unveiling these innovations at API creates a unique experience for golf fans by bringing them even closer to the event,” he said.

Driving mobile commerce
Participants at the Arnold Palmer Invitational will get a first-hand experience of MasterCard’s new payments innovations, as it attempts to remain a driver in connected commerce. Users will be able to try on VR equipment and follow Graeme McDowell as he walks viewers through the well-known 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass’s Stadium Course.

Users will also be able to purchase items of interest, such as a shirt or golf club, without leaving the virtual reality experience by identifying with the wearable equipment and purchasing natively within the digital world. Attendees on the golf course will be able to purchase refreshments from stands by simply tapping a connected golf glove to the POS system.

Smartphone users will also be able to purchase refreshments, PGA products and equipment through the Qkr! with MasterPass application. Users download the app and browse or search for products while at API.

MasterCard will be donating the proceeds from purchased equipment to charity organization Arnie’s Army. The finance company also noted it will be showcasing and experimenting with merging augmented reality and commerce technology while at the tournament as well.

MasterCard and mobile
The financial service also continued to raise awareness of its mobile payments capabilities at PGA Tour golf events, with attendees at last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational getting the first to get the chance to use the card network’s QkR mobile payments app (see more).

MasterCard also recently supported stronger innovation in mobile payments technology, with an emphasis on the fashion industry, through a student competition at The New School’s Parsons School of Design hoping to uncover new commerce solutions in wearable designs (see more).

“With virtual reality and augmented reality expected to generate about $150 billion in revenue by the year 2020, the two new commerce experiences we debuted at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard are important parts of our ongoing program to develop payment technologies that simplify consumers’ lives, create unique experiences and grow our business,” Mr. Rajamannar said.

“And with Cisco predicting there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020, the payment enabled golf glove is just another way for us to continue to demonstrate how any device can be a commerce device, including rings, watches, key fobs and even refrigerators.”