MasterCard partners with Coin to enable payments via wearable devices

MasterCard has unveiled the next step in its plan to convert every device into a payment device, announcing a partnership with Coin to make wearables payment-capable.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

MasterCard has partnered with consumer ecommerce player Coin to enable payments via smartwatches, fitness bands, and other wearable devices.

Currently, fitness tracker manufacturer Atlas Wearables, wrist-worn fitness coach maker Moov, and smartwatch creator Omate are working with both MasterCard and Coin to make selected devices payment-capable.

"The great thing about the MasterCard program is that we are adding payment functionality to items that consumers are already using -- fitness bands, jewellery, clothing, watches," Sherri Haymond, MasterCard senior vice president of digital payments, said.

"This makes the products more useful for consumers and enhances the value device manufacturers can deliver to their customers."

Coin will provide the hardware and software technology that is integrated with the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES), and can be embedded directly into wearable devices to allow payments.

Haymond said the partnership with Coin will allow MasterCard to reach an expanded set of devices in an industry that Kanishk Parashar, CEO and co-founder of Coin, said is expected to be worth $53 billion by 2019.

Laurent Le Pen, founder and CEO of Omate, believes payment is the ultimate step for the global adoption of wearables.

"Teaming up with major players in the payment industry allows us to continue fulfilling our commitment to customers of providing fashionable products that meet their needs," he said.

The collaboration with Coin builds on the announcement the payment giant made in October, with its Commerce for Every Device program aiming to bring payment capability to every device.

"As more and more 'things' become connected, consumers will have endless possibilities when it comes to how they pay, and will need all of their devices to work seamlessly together," Ed McLaughlin, head of emerging payments at MasterCard, said at the time.

In December, MasterCard labelled cash as unnecessary wallet real estate when it released a survey that showed contactless near-field communication (NFC) payments are preferred over cash by nearly two-thirds of the 1,000 Australian respondents.

The survey found that respondents favoured the speed of a contactless transaction, and the ability to be reimbursed for unauthorised transactions in the event of card theft.

It was also announced last month by Google that Android Pay will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards, and that the company was also working with Eftpos to support its cards.

Android Pay is the newer version of Google Wallet, which was launched in the United States in September. Despite being available in the US since 2011, Google Wallet has never been offered in Australia.

Similarly, Apple Pay has been used in the US since October 2014 but is only available to Australians that possess an American Express card.

Earlier this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, MasterCard launched Groceries by MasterCard, an app preloaded into Samsung's Family Hub refrigerator that allows consumers to order groceries via their fridge from FreshDirect and ShopRite in the US.

MasterCard said the capability is the first of its kind, with the fridge's shopping cart "learning" a family's shopping habits and making personalised suggestions on items and brands. Further grocers will be added as the product rollout continues, MasterCard said.

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