Riding on MasterCard’s mobile innovations truck

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.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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