MasterCard is launching a new mobile alert system for unusual uses of cardholder accounts. Developed in collaboration with Zumigo, a company specializing in mobile location-based security, the system operates via an app that can automatically alert a cardholder when her card is used outside of pre-set boundaries. It’s a kind of complementary program to another collaboration which Syniverse that uses UK cardholders’ mobile roaming data to confirm their locations, a system that MasterCard is working to expand to other markets.
It also appears to be an attempt to keep pace with the digital and mobile security options being developed by Visa, which announced its Visa Consumer Transaction Controls initiative last week. In a statement announcing its new mobile alert system, MasterCard framed it as an expansion of its ‘cardholder controls’, and highlighted the In Control real-time SMS and email alerts system that it first introduced in 2007. That solution and the new mobile alerts, however, are directed and controlled from the top-down by MasterCard and its partners, whereas Visa’s Consumer Transaction Controls come via its Visa Developer program, a platform designed to allow third-party organizations leverage its APIs for their own purposes and thereby allowing for a diverse range of possibilities with respect to digital and mobile solutions.
It all adds up to indicate a growing competition between the payments giants in the world of digital money and payments; and with PayPal looking to dramatically disrupt these companies’ traditional business models through its own digital efforts, its a competition that could soon grow very heated.