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MasterCard aims to help financially underserved consumers via new mobile program

February 24, 2012

MasterCard has rolled out a new global initiative that aims to help financially underserved consumers access their financial information via mobile.

The MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program was developed to help the under banked. The company is working with Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba on this mobile initiative.

“In emerging markets, where only a small proportion of the population is banked, the banking infrastructure is not well developed,” said Mung Ki Woo, group executive of mobile at MasterCard, New York.

“As a result, mobile carriers, supported by banks, have deployed mobile money services around the globe,” he said. “For millions, most notably in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, these programs are helping to ensure access to safe and convenient forms of financial services.

“Currently, the mobile money programs launched by wireless carriers have largely remained closed loop, offering consumers limited capabilities to make payments, most notably mobile top-up, bill payment and P2P payments within the network only.”

MasterCard, is a global payments and technology company.

Comviva, Sybase and Utiba provide mobile services to users.

Bank on mobile
Through the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program, MasterCard is working with mobile money platform providers to enable consumers to buy goods and services via their mobile phones at millions of physical and online merchants worldwide, as well as transfer funds and pay bills.

The Mobile Money program offers consumers prepaid companion cards that they can use at merchants that accept MasterCard cards.

Additionally, consumers can create virtual card accounts that can be used for ecommerce payments with a user’s mobile money account.

The program also features person-to-person payments between subscribers of two different mobile money services.

“Mobile is a key part of the company’s overall vision for the future,” Mr. Woo said. “As mobile technology has reached critical mass around the globe – more than 70 percent of the world’s population has a mobile device – it has become imperative for MasterCard to embrace this technology as a way to deliver financial services to the global community.”

Word of mouth
According to Mr. Woo, the company will get the word out about its Mobile Money Partnership Program in many ways.

MasterCard will promote the program to other regional and global mobile money service providers such as Comviva, Sybase 365 and Utiba, as well as business to business marketing.

Additionally, MasterCard’s partners will also promote the program to telecommunication companies.

“Mobile money is one of the integral pieces of MasterCard’s mobile strategy and the main approach for financial inclusion of the underserved,” Mr. Woo said.

“For more than a decade, MasterCard has led the transformation of mobile phones into secure mobile payment devices,” he said.

“We have pioneered the development of unique mobile information services to facilitate and promote commerce, and continue to be a champion of global mobile payment standards.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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