Mastercard produced many press releases about and related to mobile payment and banking during the past period. If the product and technology guys were as busy as the PR people, expect to see a lot of results. When analysing the different announcements, a number of themes emerge. Rather than looking at the plethora of stories, it is better to track the different themes. These are the important (unrelated) themes that I picked up:MoneysendMastercard has been working on the Moneysend capability for some time and with limited success. The ability to send money from one card to another has been around for the better part of a decade, but is starting to receive more attention. Some of the recent press was a partnership with Obopay (May 2009) (Read here) and recently making this functionality available on smartphones (For instance, read here). I think that this is probably one of the most promising initiatives, but is not very popular because of high costs and limited number of target countries.Banking the unbankedA number of (almost unrelated) articles have attracted attention in this space. The most notable one was the collaboration with Telefonica announce in Jan 2011 (Read here). Soon afterwards a collaboration with Airtel in Africa (Feb 2011) was announced (Read here). It is also known that the Mastercard foundation provides support for various organisation, especialliy in micro finance. (For instance read here). While it seems that Mastercard is doing a lot and seems to be committed to this space, the substance and actual products that will be launched are not clear.Proximity paymentsAs can be expected, Mastercard has been quite busy pushing out press on a number of NFC initiatives. The best strategy, was announced last month by my friend Eddie Grobler down-under. He spelled out a five year Paypass strategy for Australia (Read here). For the rest, Mastercard have been very busy associating themselves with some of the major brands in the industry; Google and Citibank (Read here), Gemalto (Read here) and of course the big one: working with Isis (AT&T, T-mobile and Verizon) to bring mobile payments to Salk Lake City (Read here). It does seem as if Mastercard is able to make some impressive announcements, but what is lacking is a central plan, a story, a clear strategy… or maybe, I am just not sharp enough to get it.Also, I have found some of the general stories from Mastercard interesting. Sometimes, one is left with a feeling of contradiction, for instance, the important announcement regarding collaboration with Unionpay (Sept 2010) (Read here) followed by a statement last month by the CEO that India is a more exciting market than China (Read here).
Read more: http://mbanking.blogspot.com/2011/04/view-on-mastercards-many-mobile-themes.html