By 18 July 2014 | Categories: news


MasterCard marked its first foray into the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region by launching its MasterPass offering for South Africa in Rosebank this week.

Explaining why South Africa was chosen to be the first country for MasterPass’ entry in this region, Aaron Oliver, MasterCard’s head of emerging payments, Middle East and Africa, pointed out that the country was unique in that South Africa’s use of mobiles to connect to the internet (39.3%) was well above the global average of 25.8%. This, he continued, meant that the facility to make purchases online using mobile devices was even more applicable in South Africa.  

The digital wallet, which was launched internationally last year, is aimed at offering users a quicker and secure checkout when shopping online.

Tap, tap, buy, buy

“With a single click, tap or touch of the MasterPass button at checkout, consumers can access their preferred digital wallet and authenticate a payment with a secure PIN,” elaborated Mark Hearne, head of Business Development, MasterCard, South Africa. He pointed out that this gives the ability to make secure online payments without the repeated hassle of entering these details each time.

Furthermore, digital wallets accessible through the MasterPass acceptance network then allow users to store all their MasterCard or other branded credit, debit or cheque card information, along with shipping and billing address details securely in one place.

Victor de Kock, Vice President, Advanced Payments, MasterCard, South Africa with Aaron Oliver, Head of Emerging Payments, MasterCard, Middle East and Africa and Mark Hearne, Head of Business Development, MasterCard, South Africa.

Bank on it

The first bank to offer a digital wallet app in conjunction with MasterPass is Standard Bank, which is now freely available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. Interestingly, and somewhat unexpectedly, anyone can use the Standard Bank MasterPass app – including non-Standard Bank cardholders.

“Standard Bank is excited to be pushing the frontiers of the payments technology landscape, in partnership with MasterCard, and enabling not only South African cardholders but also our merchant partners to provide slicker payment options to the market. In so doing, we hope to further galvanise the rapid rise we have seen in e-commerce in South Africa recently, and create the platform for future growth in the payments industry,” commented Chris Sweeney, Group Head of Cards for Standard Bank Group.

Everyone included

Additionally, we were pleased to note that the MasterPass offering seems to be particularly inclusive – for those who eschew credit cards, it also accepts selected PIN-based debit cards such as Maestro.

More good news is that MasterPass supports cross border purchasing, and thanks to the lead time of its launch internationally, and its presence in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and China, it apparently is already supported by some 40 000 merchants worldwide.

As for future plans, Oliver eluded to MasterPass extending its reach to include in-app and in-store purchases in the future. “As consumers become more accustomed to online shopping and the benefits of electronic payments, they want simpler and more secure shopping experiences and payment solutions,” added Hearne. “The convergence of technology and digital payments in MasterPass turns any connected device, at any location, into a payment device,” he concluded.


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