By Phil Loyd NEW YORK ( MainStreet) --If you're angling to say goodbye to bulgy old billfolds forever and hello to the digital wallet, you have yet another option in MasterPass, the new digital wallet service from Mastercard. MasterCard officially debuted MasterPass at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where the company announced that it will be partnering-up with global telecommunications service VimpleCom and VeriFone, the global leader in secure electronic payment solutions. This is an example of an old-school plastic company getting in on the ground level of the future.
MasterPass puts the power of convenience right in the palm of your hand by turning your smartphone into a digital wallet. All it takes to get started is downloading one simple app. While shopping, simply scan the barcode on your items with your phone, then place them into your shopping cart. When you're ready to check out just tap the "BUY WITH MasterPass" button right there on your touchscreen, and you're done. Say goodbye to long lines forever. "Every device is becoming a shopping device," says Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard. "MasterPass brings together all of the ways we pay for things, from traditional plastic cards to digital wallets, and gives consumers the ability to make a payment from wherever they are and with one simple experience." While this is all great news for the consumer, what does it mean for merchants? For brick-and-mortar retailers, it means a faster, more pleasant shopping experience for their customers and a way to compete for convenience with online merchants. Once shoppers find out a store has no long checkout lines, at least not for them, they'll be beating down the doors to get in--at least that's the theory. "The convergence of the physical and digital worlds is increasingly offering more payment and commercial options along with increased consumer choice and greater convenience," says Hany Fam, president of strategic alliances at MasterCard Europe.
The new service also has its online shopping advantages, too. For e-commerce vendors it means a faster, more secure experience for the customer. Since the customer's information is already stored at MasterCard, all it takes is the touch of a button. MasterPass works from any smartphone or tablet, even that clunky old computer. "We want to let consumers choose their own device, and we've built the platform to enable that," says Ed Olebe, SVP & group head at MasterCard Worldwide.