Credit card provider MasterCard said Thursday it has expanded its Masterpass contactless mobile payment service to support in-store point-of-sale systems.
Masterpass in-store payments begin in the U.S. later this month, rolling out to Europe and the Middle East/Africa by the end of 2016, and expanding worldwide through the end of next year. The service is starting out on devices running Google's Android mobile operating system, only because Apple doesn’t allow others to access the near-field communications chips on its phones.
In tandem with the MasterPass news, MasterCard also announced it is updating its brand identity for the first time in 20 years, shifting the "C" in its name from uppercase to lowercase and introducing a simplified, modernized logo.
MasterCard’s Masterpass expansion is a natural step in the evolution of mobile payments, considering that most shopping—some 95% by some measures—is still being done in stores.
While Apple Pay (the innovator in the space), Android Pay and Samsung Pay have dominated mobile payments so far, it remains a very small playing field. Most Americans still use their “top of wallet” card, especially in stores. But while they’re not exactly a mainstream payment method, mobile payments do seem to have reached a point where they've piqued the interest of banks and the credit card companies.
Mobile sales were $8.7 billion in the U.S last year, and will likely more than double this year, according to eMarketer, but still represented only a fraction of the $4.8 trillion total U.S. retail sales in 2015. Ubiquity is what's absolutely necessary if mobile payments are going to take off, and that means increased use in physical locations.
Merchants who will deploy Masterpass in the coming months include Saks.com and Lord and Taylor.com, MasterCard said. Ally Bank, Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank, Capital One, Citi and many other banks also will support the service, layering services including tokenization with bank identification and verification of cardholders to protect consumers from fraud.
Masterpass eventually will be available in some 5 million stores in 77 countries, helped immensely by MasterCard's strong (and newly refreshed) global brand.
“Mastercard is one of those unique brands that is instantly recognizable around the world,” Raja Rajamannar, the company’s chief marketing and communications officer, said in a statement. “To thrive in this new digital world where business moves faster than ever, we want to modernize and elevate the brand in a design that is simple and elegant, yet unquestionably Mastercard.”