MWC17: Mastercard Expands Qkr Payments, Purpose-Driven Platform

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Mastercard 2017 Mobile World Congress Raja Rajamannar

Mastercard is bringing the future of payments to Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona this week, where global chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar gave a keynote address that emphasized “experiences over things” — not a surprise for the brand that created priceless experiences — and insights into how Mastercard’s approach to creating and curating experiences is transforming the mobile, connected consumer experience.

Following its rebrand to Mastercard (with a lowercase ‘c’) and a new logo and brand identity in July 2016, the global payments giant is also quietly dropping its name-inclusive wordmark logo for a purely visual logo a la Nike’s swoosh—and as the “card” part of its name becomes obsolete in a world of mobile payments, it may drop the “Mastercard” name, too.

Mastercard new logo“The logo was optimised for digital media, it gives us the flexibility, should we desire, two or three years down the line to completely eliminate the name and only show those two interlocking circles,” Rajamannar told The Drum on the sidelines at MWC 2017.

He hinted at this last October, when he told Campaign,

“Hypothetically, 10 years down the line, if the world becomes completely digital, Masterpass will be made the dominant brand. So long as the physical world is dominant, Mastercard will be my dominant brand. Eventually we will have, at some distant future, one unified identity—so much so we will probably drop both the names Mastercard and Masterpass from our logo altogether, and all you will see is the interlocking circles and red and yellow.”

Rebranding its visual identity isn’t the only transformation coming to the Mastercard brand.

Having successfully launched Masterpass digital payments as its second master brand at the Mobile World Congress in 2013, MasterCard has been promoting it with campaigns such as its #ThankTheFans platform at the recent Grammy Awards and its new “Don’t Just Buy It, Masterpass It.”

Now, as announced at Mobile World Congress 2017, Rajamannar confirmed that it’s expanding Qkr!, its mobile wallet and global digital payment and order-ahead platform for retailers and on-the-go consumers.

Mastercard Qkr with Masterpass app

The mobile pay-at-table app will finally be available in the US, among other markets, and to address a pain point (the average 12-minute average wait time for a bar or restaurant bill), it’s adding a bar tab feature “allowing you to pay for individual items or rounds without leaving cards behind.”

The company is expanding Qkr! with Masterpass, a mobile order-ahead and payment platform developed by Mastercard Labs, to six new markets and add new functionality to eliminate the traditional “open tab” at a bar, club or restaurant.

Qkr! enables consumers to seamlessly order and pay for goods and services via their smart phone without having to wait in line or for a restaurant server. The app uses Masterpass to speed up the checkout process without requiring consumers to enter their financial and shipping information at every new merchant site.

In 2017, Mastercard will expand the Qkr platform to six additional markets – Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and the United States – to seamlessly pay for fees, supplies and excursions at schools, and make payments at gas stations, parking, sports arenas, and unattended retail such as vending machines. Mastercard is also partnering with Oracle to integrate Qkr and Masterpass in Oracle point-of-sale software and systems to scale these digital payment platforms to merchants worldwide.

Mastercard Qkr

“Today, we’re looking for convenience in all parts of our lives,” said Betty DeVita, chief commercial officer, Digital Payments and Labs, Mastercard. “Though grab-and-go retail is becoming increasingly popular with those on the move, consumers maintain high customer service expectations. Qkr! with Masterpass provides them with a frictionless retail experience – bringing together self-service, fast, seamless payments and card safety and security in new and unique ways.”

Qkr is live in Australia, Colombia, Mexico and the United Kingdom and is being used at fast-casual restaurants such as wagamama, Juan Valdez, ASK Italian, Young’s Pubs, Zizzi, and Change Please, a mobile coffee-delivery social project run by the homeless in London:

The latter partnership illustrates how Mastercard’s support of universal financial access (including for low-income women) is bringing purpose to digital payments — as explained by Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth President Shamina Singh in the video below ahead of her Tuesday talk on financial inclusivity for women. It’s a theme she also highlighted at the Davos World Economic Forum in January.

Another hot topic for Mastercard at MWC17: With 50% of the world’s population living in cities,  Mastercard is playing a role in transforming how we live. Carlos Menendez, president of Enterprise Partnerships for Mastercard, took part in a panel discussion on the role of the mobile industry in creating smart cities during a session titled “Paving the Way for Smart Cities.”

Maintaining its focus on improving people’s lives while staying ahead of tech advances is the core of the Mastercard brand, as noted in IDC tech analyst James Wester‘s pre-MWC blog post:

Thanks to the Internet of Things, everything is now a mobile technology, and every thermostat, light switch, vending machine, garage door opener and more is a “mobile device.” Each one is now a potential endpoint in a web of connected devices. What’s more, every one of those endpoints may need access to payments and financial services. For instance, if a smart meter can now pay for utilities automatically, how does it access payment networks? Or a connected car paying for a toll? Or an office device reordering its own supplies?

Also released at MWC17 — Mastercard’s Instalments API; a handy periodic table and glossary of terms for those navigating the wild and rapidly-changing world of digital finance and fintech; and a “Mastercard in a Minute” overview of its rapidly-evolving brand:

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