Leading credit and debit card companies MasterCard and Citi Cards, the payment card arm of Citi Bank are both using their brands to develop not only the payment tools for e- and m-commerce, but are also building ‘mobile malls’ where only their cards can be used.
Citi Cards, as reported in M-Retailing last week
, is developing a comparative shopping app that lets users buy at good prices using their Citi card, while MasterCard has gone a step further and is offering a “personalised shopping platform with multiple deals all in one place” – in other words a shopping mall on mobile where you have to pay using your MasterCard.
To push the service, MasterCard is running a series of special offers on netbooks, digital cameras and gift certificates.
The move by Citi Bank and MasterCard are indicative of banks getting ever closer to m-commerce. MasterCard has already, earlier this year, opened up its APIs to third parties to grease the wheels of development of m-commerce solutions that involve the card as payment tool and to develop better mobile billing offerings around MasterCard.
Citi, meanwhile, with its US only comparative shopping offer, is leveraging its 200million US account holders by not only offering them the payment tool for m-commerce, but also the ability to find the goods they want to buy.
Citi is also rolling out PayPass contactless payment stickers for mobiles later this summer, joining BarclayCard in offering NFC payments.
While retailers may be threatened to a degree by the encroachment of banks into the retail side of the business, the moves should be welcomed since one of the main pain points with mobile commerce is payments and, if nothing else, these projects are getting banks and card companies deeply involved in ameliorating that payment pain.