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MasterCard: Get Ready For The Future Of Payments

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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MasterCard’s Johan Lindstrom tells us why Selfie Pay and smart fridges could soon mark a new generation of smart payments

The payments world has changed immeasurably over the past few years, as technology such as contactless payments and NFC transactions have made it quicker and easier to pay for goods and services.

MasterCard has been one of the leading proponents of new payment technology, shown recently by its refresh of a campaign for Apple Pay users to travel for free across London’s TfL network – but what is next for the company?

Mainstream?

mastercard mwc 2016At the recent Mobile World Congress show, we spoke to MasterCard’s Johan Lindstrom, who says that the company has seen a real shift in consumer attitude when it comes to using new payment technology.

“We’re starting to see real volume on stuff we’ve been talking about for the past five years”, he says, “many of the mobile payments solution we’ve been working on are finally going mainstream… they’re not just pilots or tests, but real, cool, interesting new things – real, normal people are using it!”

Along with the noted Apple Pay partnership, MasterCard has been rapidly expanding its QKR service, which is now used by restaurants and bars to help speed up payments and split bills. In the UK, QKR is already used by the likes of Wagamama, Young’s and Zizzi, with MasterCard looking to expand this further as it aims to find everyday use cases where its technology can provide a benefit.

The upcoming UK launches of Android Pay and Samsung Pay should also help provide a “hugely positive” boost to mobile payment adoption, Lindstrom says, opening up the technology as, “growth will continue dramatically”.

“The European markets in general are keen on new technology,” he notes, “we just see a lot of innovation all around Europe.”

Connected

mastercard smart fridge mwc 2016“Mobile payments always comes back to ease of use,” Lindstrom says, “payments always comes down to security and ease of use, and traditionally there had to be a pay off between the two, and you had to choose either/or.”

“But with mobile devices you suddenly have the ability to increase security and make it easier to use at the same time…it’s completely changed the way we talk to consumers about mobile payments.”

MasterCard is now looking to expand its reach into the Internet of Things, as the world around us becomes smarter and more connected.

Lindstrom confirms that the company is “very much” looking at expanding into this space, with MasterCard’s stand showing off a smart fridge which acts as a shopping hub, providing details on food levels and allowing users to order straight from the kitchen (pictured above).

“For me, the Internet of Things is about giving consumers flexibility and choice,” Lindstrom says, noting that MasterCard is able to roll out a scalable and secure back-end network which can work with products and services of all sizes, “but we feel that there is no one size fits all solution.”

“We’re just trying to enable as many clever developers as possible to build these experiences for consumers.”

Say cheese

mastercard selfie pay mwc 2016Biometrics was another key focus of MasterCard at Mobile World Congress, as the company revealed that it would soon be allowing customers to pay using a photo of themselves. The service, immediately dubbed “Selfie Pay”, was on show in Barcelona, and the demos provided an interesting insight into how biometrics could prove to be an extra level of security for cautious users.

When TechWeekEurope saw the demo in action (pictured left), it all seemed to go very smoothly, as the user was able to quickly and securely pay for an item using a smartphone’s front-facing camera for authentication, along with another form such as a fingerprint or geo-location tracker.

And MasterCard now hopes that the system, which will be available in the UK and 14 other countries from the summer, will mean shoppers can complete a purchase online without ever needing to enter confirmation codes, passwords, or PIN numbers.

“Biometrics offer a unique opportunity to make transaction easy and safe at the same time,” Lindstrom says, ““(it) forms a strong part of any strong authentication system.”

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