Mobile convergence driven by payment associations?
Convergence has always been a key word of the Mobile World Congress (MWC). All technology developers need, at some time, to demonstrate they are converging towards a common standard, or showing some convergence between two independently developed technologies.
This year, convergence is exemplified by the fact some of the major announcements in a mobile communication trade show are not coming from mobile communication companies but from the payment organizations.
Visa keeps on developing its mobile payment strategy by announcing a global alliance with Samsung. The handset manufacturer will preinstall Visa payWave application in all its NFC-enabled devices, and financial institutions will be able to use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices thanks to Samsung KMS (Key Management System). With this announcement, Visa positions itself as a central gateway for financial institutions to provision payment applications regardlessly whether they come from Visa or other payment standards.
At the same time, MasterCard is announcing MasterPass, a digital service that allows consumers to use any payment card or enabled device to perform mobile payments. MasterCard is opening its MasterPass API, to allow consumers to store any card from MasterCard or another payment standard.
Mobile payment players are realizing that a fragmented ecosystem is one of the reasons why mobile payment has not been developing as fast as expected. Now, they all want to play the intermediation role, and to remain the single focus point of the market.