For the mobile phone industry, it really doesn’t get much bigger than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It’s going on right now and I’m right here in the middle of the action.
I can tell you the excitement and enthusiasm on display here is contagious. Smartphone adoption continues to increase at a rapid pace. Smartphones are now outselling PCs which is a clear indicator they are here to stay. Mobile payments are going global and we’re seeing what the phone can do and how it can change and enhance everyday life.
There’s so much potential in the area of mobile payments. This is where the mobile phone truly becomes a device that can make purchases as well as a sophisticated tool for personal finance. Maybe so much so that it could one day even replace the traditional wallet.
I joined MasterCard just a few weeks ago, coming from France Telecom – Orange Group. While I was there, I led the development of the “Orange Money” mobile payment program. I came to MasterCard, though, because I know that at its core, MasterCard is a true payments company with a long, successful history of innovating and implementing new technologies all over the world.
One thing I’m really pleased about is our collaboration with Wireless Dynamics. We’re working together to introduce the world’s first mobile Near Field Communications (NFC) MasterCard® PayPass™ device for the iPhone.
Essentially, we’re putting our leading MasterCard PayPass technology inside Wireless Dynamics’ “iCarte” iPhone accessory so it can be used for secure contactless payment transactions. Because the iCarte is capable of NFC two-way communication and can interface with an iPhone’s internal software, there are a host of opportunities for consumers wanting to take their phones to the next level. The iCarte can even read NFC smart posters, as well as download or upload electronic coupons, tickets or receipts. This mobile payments solution will be initially piloted in Singapore with DBS Bank for MasterCard PayPass cardholders and with the FEVO Prepaid MasterCard PayPass card issued by EZ-Link Pte Ltd.
We’re also excited about some of the other announcements we have been a part of recently. We announced the formation a joint venture with Telefonica to develop mobile payments services to foster better financial inclusion for millions of people in 12 Latin American countries, so they can use their phones to make basic financial transactions like transferring money or paying bills and retail purchases. And in the U.K., Barclaycard and Orange are collaborating in “Everything Everywhere” to roll out the first commercial contactless mobile payments service. We’re an integral part of this program – payments will be processed using our groundbreaking PayPass technology.
This year is the year when we’re all going to see tremendous momentum in this area. I truly believe MasterCard is the company to help make that a reality and I’m delighted to be leading that charge.
I’d love to hear from you on your thoughts on what it’s going to take to make mobile phones mainstream, and how you feel people’s lives could benefit. Where would you like to be able to use your phone to make a purchase? What are some of the challenges that we need to work to overcome?
I welcome your input and your ideas!