It might be a hot summer day in Toronto, but this is no ice cream truck.

No, it’s a demo zone for MasterCard’s latest technology. And much like the payments processor’s business strategy, it’s mobile.

But this truck isn’t full of the mobile payment technology you might expect. There’s no tap-to-pay point of sale terminal, or smartphones with embedded NFC chips. Instead, it’s all about apps. Apps that are blurring the line between e-commerce and on-location mobile payments.

Brian Lang, the new president of MasterCard Canada, says that technology should be about making life easier.

“What’s lying behind the future of innovation is technology. There’s an awful lot of technology in core payments as they happen today and in the events that happen around payments activity. In searching for things that people want to do and recommending them to  others and through to payment and receiving the information around payments one makes, that’s all going to become more frictionless,” he says.

MasterCard is known as being a company that completes financial transactions. To date, that’s mostly been about putting a plastic card in your wallet. Now in the digital age, MasterCard finds itself in the same area as so many others – mobile apps.

Take Qkr, for example – that’s spelled Q, K, R. It’s a mobile menu that goes beyond just paying for your food. You select what you want and someone brings it to you. It’s deploying in restaurants and sports stadiums, so you don’t have to miss any of the action when you want a hot dog. The Air Canada Centre even did a pilot in the spring.

Then there’s ShopThis. It’s an e-commerce store that’s embedded into digital publications. The idea is that when you see an ad for a product you want to buy, you can simply tap an icon to buy the product and have it shipped to you. You don’t even have to close what you’re reading. It’s something that Wired has used, and it’s now available to Canadian publishers.

It’s about driving payments convergence, says Jason Davies, Head of Emerging Payments at MasterCard Canada. Let the consumer decide how and when they want to pay.

“The long-term vision for us is that any consumer, if they can get a data connection and a web browser, should be able to use that device for payment,” he says.

MasterCard is becoming a technology company. It has created an app-making division based in New York City, called MasterCard Labs. And even the core company is developing technology solutions – most of them, mobile-first.

For ITBusiness.ca, I’m Brian Jackson.

Share on LinkedIn Share with Google+
More Articles

  • Itinerant Prophet

    I today finished connecting my bancard to my Google wallet app and
    AS FAST my Galaxy S6 activated the whole NFC connection. What I thought was cool was a next announcement stating, that “before I tap and pay I have the option of choosing to draw from my available Google (MasterCard) Wallet or from my bankcard!

    • Imagine ..
      This morning i first time staged payment for my sandwhich and beverage at Subway with my pearl white s6 ‘tap and pay’. It was far simpler than i imagined though technologically far more complex with the layered security present from all geopositions known, both myself and the agent observing a noticable ‘clack’ from the processer immediately when i located face of my s6 an inch from his top surface
      at which time my phone clacked and read “tap and tap, again to finalize payment. Too easy and so secured
      being receipts were delivered both to my wallet app and through gmail. Just need to have your wallet app opened before you announce your preferred payment practice