Mastercard throws weight behind EU Green Paper on mobile payments

In response to the European Commission’s Green Paper on electronic payments, published today, Mastercard is the first major payment company to officially lend support to the campaign.

The goal of the paper is to expand electronic payments to help European businesses grow, and consumers to shop easily and safely online, instore and via their mobile devices.

Mastercard Europe president Javier Perez said that the company supports public dialogue on the critical role electronic payments play in commerce and society.

MasterCard is already working hard to encourage adoption of electronic payments. Greater use can help reduce the black economy, stimulate investment and improve efficiency, resulting in improved consumer and business confidence in tough times.”

MastrCard said that it thought a shift was underway as European consumers move from cash to more efficient forms of electronic payments. Payments online and via smartphones are also growing dramatically as consumers change the way they shop and pay.

The company’s own PayPass technology is being used across Europe more and more, while Visa, PayPal and Google are racing to make the biggest mark on the mobile payments space. No wonder, since technology analysis firm Yankee Group predicts the value of NFC transactions will grow from $27m in 2010 to $40bn in 2014.

Visa announced this week that its NFC payment system has now been certified for use in LG, Samsung and RIM smartphones, and back in November it confirmed that its digital wallet service will be called V.me.

Expected to be rolled out fully in early 2012, Visa is running a developer programme that brings together all of its current subsidiaries including Authorize.Net, CyberSource, Fundamo and PlaySpan. Its aim is to give retailers, merchants and start-ups better access to Visa’s payments services, since the tools provide mobile developers with easier ways to accept payments on handsets.

With PayPal’s own digital wallet service is expected to launch this year – as well as Google Wallet on the market – it’ll be interesting to see how products from the big three compare over the coming year.

On top of huge potential for growth, green and commerce benefits, Mastercard also highlighted that many of the cards already in use by European consumers help them set limits on how they spend, help them decide where they want to spend, and help them use whatever online or offline technologies they want to use to pay.

These opportunities for consumers to be in control of the way they pay were nearly unheard of when the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) initiative within the EU began. Europe was a pioneer in creating safe and convenient new ways to pay such as EMV chip cards.

Perez explained that these and many other innovations come from intense competition, and can only be supported with a sustainable business model.

The payments sector needs to have a sustainable business model to fund innovations that will keep Europe ahead of the rest of the world. We expect that the consultation process started today will reveal just how much the way to pay in daily life has changed for everyone.”

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