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Mastercard partners with Deutsche Telekom for mobile payments in Europe

July 9, 2012
Mastercard was one of the first in the financial world to adopt mobile payments, and they were the first credit card company to embrace Google Wallet (Visa support came a few months later). So it’s obvious they are serious about leading this market, because they think this is the future. But they may want something more than just partnering with their competitors and to make it universal for all users. They want control of the market (versus their competitors), as do many carriers, who also want to get involved in this market because they think the potential for huge revenues is high.

Mastercard is trying to push their own mobile payment system in Europe, by partnering with Deutsche Telekom, which is a large carrier in Europe. At first, the 2 companies will start with a more low-tech credit card/tag approach, followed by a true mobile wallet for smartphones in 2013.

The payment system will arrive at first in Poland later this year, and then follow with Germany. Mastercard will also work with other banks and partners to bring the system to 93 million European mobile users. The Mastercard product will be offered by ClickandBuy.  Unlike other systems, this one will be SIM-based. The users will be getting a text message everytime there’s a transaction, and they will probably offer an app to check transaction history and balance as well. Coupons will be supported as well.

Deploying the infrastructure for NFC mobile payments should take years. Until then, mobile payments and e-wallets won’t be very useful for most people, except the ones living in certain cities with a high concentration of places that accept such mobile payments. But at least the mobile industry seems determined to push NFC into the market, so by the time everyone’s local store will accept NFC or any other kind of mobile payments, all the phones should be ready for it.