After some early fits and starts, the digital payment movement may have just gotten the jump start it needed with the launch of MasterCard's new MasterPass program. The service combines users' plastic cards, Web-based wallets and NFC-based solutions into one system that will be available at retailers across the globe. It's this kind of unified approach that MasterCard believes will help make digital payments more approachable for the masses.
Included in the suite are the MasterPass checkout services, which allow customers to pay for items regardless of where they are. If you're in a store, for example, MasterCard says the system will let you pay for items at the checkout or from a store's aisle using NFC, QR codes and other mobile devices. For online purchases, the service will create a simplified check-out process, eliminating the tedious task of entering all of your credit card and shipping information again and again.
With MasterPass-connected wallets, MasterCard says banks, merchants and participating partners will be able to provide users with their own wallets, allowing you to save card information address books and more. And since the wallet is open, you'll be able to add additional credit, debit and pre-paid cards.
MaterPass will also offer users value added services such as loyalty programs and account balance information, something that should help the experience run smoothly. The company claims that the biggest roadblock to making digital payment more consumer friendly is that their disparate services are too confusing.
In fact, MasterCard says that of those consumers interested in digital payments and wallets, roughly 85 percent find current systems too confusing. Will MasterPass change that? We'll see when it launches in the U.S. this Spring.