MasterCard in talks with banks and telecom firms
MasterCard is in talks with Indonesian financial institutions and mobile phone operators to introduce its mobile payment gateway in the country, MasterCard’s senior executive said in Jakarta on Thursday.
Philip Yen, MasterCard’s emerging payments group head for Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa said that no agreements had been made but added that Indonesia sooner or later had to implement so-called mobile money to catch up with the rapid development in mobile payment technology in the world.
“It depends on the regulator and partners when they will be ready. But we are certainly hopeful that it will not be too far away,” said Yen, who visited Jakarta to attend the second Asian Payment Card Forum on Sept. 29-30.
Meanwhile, Vadyo Munaan, MasterCard’s vice president and senior country manager for Indonesia, said that the central bank had actually supported the idea. However, mobile operators and banks, which would become the backbones of the service, needed time to study the payment system to ensure that it would not put their customers at a disadvantage, he added.
Yen said that Indonesia had the potential for strong growth in mobile payments because the country had a large number of mobile users, numerous telecommunications operators and banks that were ready to take advantage of mobile payment technology.
“MasterCard sees that Indonesia, with no doubt, will be one of the leading markets in mobile payments. I think Indonesia has a very large young population who will love to adopt the new technology,” Yen said.
MasterCard introduced its mobile payments gateway for the first time in Brazil in November 2009, enabling financial institutions and mobile network operators to deliver end-to-end mobile payment solutions through the MasterCard Worldwide Network.
Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco and mobile operator Vivo were the first to use the MasterCard mobile payment gateway.
The service allows customers to use their phones as mobile wallets and link existing credit or debit card accounts to their mobile phones to fund mobile-initiated payments.
“We will issue a MasterCard number that can be associated with a mobile phone number. It will give people a virtual card — we call it a virtual card number — that can be used for purchases,” Yen said on Thursday.
The virtual number will be tied to a bank account, no matter which bank it is with. However, Yen said customers without bank accounts would also be eligible for a virtual number.
Vadyo said that the virtual number was unique to every mobile phone. “We will also give virtual numbers to merchants. As long as the buyers and merchants have mobile phones that already have MasterCard virtual numbers, they can make transactions,” Vadyo said. (rcf)