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For MasterCard contactless is everywhere

Week 13, 2007

In the Asia Pacific area, Taiwan is MasterCard implementation champion with a PayPass introduction in early 2005. PayPass has been trialed in Taiwan in the card format, and also in various key fobs format: for instance, On Track Innovations (OTI) and Taipei Fubon bank issued a PayPass 3D Soccer Ball key chain. Taiwan has also seen the emergence of PayPass watches with the PayPass soccer-themed watch launched by Chinatrust Commercial Bank, LAKS, and OTI. More recently, Taiwan is the place where two NFC trials are to be started. Other countries in Asia are very active too: in Korea, MasterCard collaborated with Samsung Card and three mobile phone companies, SK Telecom, LG Telecom and KTF, to pilot the use of mobile phones as contactless payment devices. In Japan, MasterCard announced its first full scale roll-out of PayPass in collaboration with Orient Corporation and Ikspiari, and celebrated the launch of a pilot program with Pocket Card and Itochu Enex.

As of Q4 2006, MasterCard globally is approaching 13 million MasterCard PayPass cards and devices in use at over 46,000 merchants worldwide.

MasterCard also partners with industrialists to make its standard available for application developers. For instance, MasterCard collaborated with Keycorp in November 2006 to announce the availability of a US$2.99 (EUR 2.24) MasterCard PayPass M/Chip 4 Combi Card for card issuers in Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa.

MasterCard also announced it has agreed with ASK for a partnership to create paper-based contactless payment solutions for use in transit and other payment environments. ASK has already supplied 50 million contactless payment tickets, so proposing a MasterCard PayPass compatibility will represent an asset in the automatic fare collection business. Public transport is the segment where speed and convenience represent the highest priority. In the US, MasterCard is participating in a contactless trial in the New York City subway system and on the Ohio Turnpike, while PayPass is now accepted in many Philadelphia and NYC taxi cabs and Utah buses.

MasterCard also pushes its PayPass technology through standardization means. MasterCard Worldwide has just assigned contactless communication protocol to EMVCo. The standardization body jointly owned by JCB, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa International, had originally be created to be in charge of terminals standardization. Then, it evolved into standardizing payment cards and payment applications. Now, with this move, MasterCard pushes for a common platform for contactless EMV payment transactions.  EMVCo will administer the licensing and distribution of the current PayPass specification, and then of the EMV Contactless Communication Protocol Specification, to be released in Q2/2007. EMVCo will shortly announce a timeline for the availability of type approval testing to the new EMVCo standard, first for contactless readers and then for cards.