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MasterCard launches MoneySend mobile payments platform

MasterCard has launched a fully integrated on-demand person-to-person mobile payments platform for issuers in the United States, set to go live later this month.

With this new platform, MasterCard's participating bank customers -- including Bancorp -- will be able to offer mobile P2P payments to their customers via MoneySend. The consumer payments platform, which is powered by Obopay, provides a way to send and receive funds via SMS, mobile browser, mobile applet or an Internet-connected PC.

"MasterCard is committed to developing platforms that advance commerce globally and leverage technology to create relevant tools for financial management, highlighting the company's role as a global innovator," said Art Kranzley, chief emerging technology officer for MasterCard Worldwide, Purchase, NY.

"The Mobile MoneySend platform builds upon the success we've seen with MoneySend in APMEA, where customers can utilize the Internet, ATMs and bank branches to enable cross-border remittance and domestic transfers," he said.

Since the MoneySend platform supports P2P payments through any PC or mobile device, MasterCard is attempting to create a consistent transaction experience in both online and mobile channels.

"We see this as an opportunity to replace cash and checks for so-called ?social transactions' like sending money to a friend to settle the tab at a restaurant, paying the babysitter or the gardener or for sending money to your kids at college," Mr. Kranzley said.

Initially, consumers will be able to use MoneySend with a MasterCard prepaid card issued by The Bancorp Bank and then link it to their mobile phone number to send or receive money.

The Bancorp Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Bancorp Inc., is an FDIC-insured commercial bank that delivers financial services and products both directly and through private-label affinity partner programs nationwide.

The Bancorp Bank's payments offering includes card issuing, card acquiring, ACH, wire transfer services and customized account structures.

The Bancorp Bank maintains membership with numerous payments networks including Visa, MasterCard, Star, NYCE, PULSE and Discover.

"Today, we announced our first participating bank, The Bancorp Bank," Mr. Kranzley said. "This will enable consumers to use MoneySend with a MasterCard prepaid card issued by The Bancorp Bank and then link it to their mobile phone number to send and receive money."

The MasterCard MoneySend Platform will be promoted on MasterCard's Web site.

"We anticipate that consumers will learn about the service through participating banks, as well as by receiving payments from consumers that are already using the service," Mr. Kranzley said. "As a part of the rollout, we also will explore various viral and online marketing initiatives to focus the message to target users."

Obopay Inc. is a service that lets consumers and small businesses purchase, pay and transfer money through any mobile phone using its mobile application, SMS, the mobile Web, a widget or Obopay.com.

As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment services, processes approximately 21 billion transactions each year and provides analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants.

MoneySend leverages MasterCard's platform capability and global network reach to provide fast and secure person-to-person and remittance payments through a variety of channels, including ATM, bank branch, personal computer and mobile phone, to meet local market needs.

As additional issuers enroll in the platform, their customers will be able to use MoneySend with their everyday accounts, including MasterCard debit, credit, prepaid or checking, as determined by their issuer.

Once registered for MoneySend, consumers have the flexibility of directly and securely transferring funds to and from family and friends through their mobile phone, eliminating the need to write or cash checks, visit ATMs or wire money domestically.

Senders initiate transfers to any domestic mobile phone number via SMS, the mobile Web or a downloadable MoneySend application.

Upon initiation of the transfer, the sender approves the request by entering the MoneySend mobile PIN, which only the accountholder knows.

Then the recipient receives a text-message confirmation of the transfer (for pre-registered users) or that the transfer is pending (for yet-to-be-registered users).

The funds can then be accessed by the recipient through an account designated during the registration process.

Initially, this will be a prepaid account with The Bancorp Bank.

These funds are then available for access through the mobile phone.

If the consumer has a MasterCard card associated with the account, the funds can also be accessed at traditional points of interaction, including ATMs, over-the-counter at a bank branch or at the point-of-sale.

MasterCard launches 'ATM Hunter' iPhone app
In April, MasterCard Worldwide launched its MasterCard ATM Hunter application in the Apple App Store.
The app lets iPhone and iPod touch users locate the nearest ATM no matter where in the world they are using the iPhone or iPod touch's location awareness technologies to pinpoint the search.

Users can customize their hunt based on their unique banking needs, such as focusing their search to a specific financial institution if they need to make a deposit or wish to avoid ATM withdrawal fees, and can pinpoint wheelchair accessible, drive-through or 24-hour access ATMs and provide the directions to get there.

The MasterCard ATM Hunter also automatically provides users with ATM safety tips.

MasterCard and Blaze Mobile introduce mobile sticker
In March, MasterCard teamed up with Blaze Mobile to introduce the Blaze Mobile MasterCard PayPass mobile payment sticker.

The small mobile payment sticker can be affixed to any mobile device, enabling it to be used for contactless purchases at any of the over 146,000 merchant locations that accept PayPass.

The mobile payment sticker is tied to a prepaid account and is issued by MetaBank.

NFC-based mobile payment services
In March, Orange and Barclaycard announced that they play to launch new co-brand products and services with the goal of making the buying process more convenient, simpler and faster.

Customers will be able to use their mobile phones to pay for goods and services at retailers using the NFC contactless technology by waving their handset against a reader.

MasterCard will provide the payment capabilities for the transactions.

MasterCard Mobile Partner Program
In November, MasterCard announced that more than 30 companies have joined the MasterCard Mobile Partner Program.

The MasterCard Mobile Partner Program is a global online resource center designed to foster knowledge-sharing, manage document distribution, track product implementations and evaluate partnership opportunities within the mobile industry.

MasterCard Over-the-Air Provisioning Service
In October, MasterCard announced the launch of the MasterCard Over-the-Air Provisioning Service, which enables issuers to perform over-the-air personalization of their cardholders' mobile devices with a one-step process.

The service allows issuers to implement PayPass on mobile programs in a reduced timeframe with minimal development and implementation effort.

According to Portio Research, by 2011, mobile commerce payments are estimated to climb to $86.6 billion.

"While an estimated 350 million people worldwide now use their cell phones to shop, bank, or transfer money, according to consultancy Edgar Dunn, Americans have been slow to adopt the technology," Mr. Kranzley said.

"One reason is the need for special software on handsets," he said. "Another is a persistent worry about the security of moving money around in the wireless realm."