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MasterCard launches Open API developer portal to drive payments innovation

May 26, 2010

mastercard1Later this year MasterCard Worldwide will release Open Application Programming Interfaces (Open APIs) for third-party and independent software developers around the world.

By opening up previously proprietary payments and data services, developers will be able to create a new wave of ecommerce and mobile payment applications. The new Open API program is the first initiative from the newly created MasterCard Labs.

“We will be releasing Open APIs so that we can tap into the ingenuity of software developers around the globe to help create the next generation of game-changing payment applications to unleash innovation within our industry, especially in the burgeoning areas of ecommerce and mobile payments,” said Joanne Trout, vice president of worldwide communications at MasterCard, Purchase, NY.

The third-party and independent software developers can sign up for this new program through a new developer portal, which will allow them to access all MasterCard Open APIs and also receive software development kits (SDKs), sample source code, reference guides, and use “virtual sandboxes” for testing their new, innovative applications. 

A developer forum designed to spur collaboration between MasterCard engineers and developers will also be an integral component of the new portal.

In addition to payments, MasterCard has identified approximately 20 platforms and services that it plans to open up to developers via the portal.

These platforms and services provide additional functionality and enhancements to MasterCard’s payment capabilities.

“We are committed to driving innovation for the rest of the payments industry,” Ms. Trout said. “It’s no secret that ecommerce and mobile payments are changing the way we use money.” 

The Open APIs will further enhance the development of new applications and systems beyond those currently available, including CRMs, ERPs, online games, merchant ecommerce Web sites, eWallets, mobile applications and payroll systems.

MasterCard payment and data services also could be integrated with other data sources and functions to create “mashups” – new applications that are a result of combining multiple data sources.

The financial institution is quite involved in the mobile space.

MasterCard offers a POS Contactless/PayPass device. It also provides value added services to customers including mobile alerts, applications, offers/coupons, locators, Priceless Picks and an ATM Hunter.

The company also offers consumers a mobile payment channel with MoneySend.

“MasterCard Mobile Services strategy includes creating a seamless experience for consumers with payment options and information services that simplify their shopping and banking experience,” Ms. Trout said.

“It’s really hard to buy a physical item from your phone,” she said. “Finding a solution to this problem might be just one of many opportunities for mobile applications developers.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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