Mastercard has officially launched its Masterpass digital payment service. Customers of Associated Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, KeyBank, People’s United Bank, and Virginia Credit Union can now use Masterpass to make a wide range of digital payments, both in physical stores and through websites and apps.
Masterpass is a kind of rival to the emerging mobile payment platforms—perhaps most notably Apple Pay and Samsung Pay—and to PayPal, which had traditionally dominated website commerce. In-store, it uses NFC technology to enable mPayments, and Mastercard says it’s already compatible at over five million retail stores in 77 countries. Meanwhile, “hundreds of thousands of merchants” will accept Masterpass through the web or mobile apps.
It’s an ambitious bid to get a firm grip on the digital revolution transforming the payments industry, and could help Mastercard to regain strength against upstart rivals. While only a handful of financial services institutions support the service now, Mastercard says that more US issuers will come on board in the coming months; and while some major banks elsewhere in the world have resisted the rise of mPayment platforms from tech companies, it could be harder to say no to Mastercard, given its importance as a global card issuer, if the service expands beyond the US later.