In an article posted on the MasterCard blog, Mung-ki Woo, who recently joined MasterCard's from mobile network operator Orange as group executive for mobile, explains that:
One thing I'm really pleased about is our collaboration with Wireless Dynamics. We're working together to introduce the world's first mobile Near Field Communications (NFC) MasterCard PayPass device for the iPhone.
Essentially, we're putting our leading MasterCard PayPass technology inside Wireless Dynamics' 'iCarte' iPhone accessory so it can be used for secure contactless payment transactions. Because the iCarte is capable of NFC two-way communication and can interface with an iPhone's internal software, there are a host of opportunities for consumers wanting to take their phones to the next level. The iCarte can even read NFC smart posters, as well as download or upload electronic coupons, tickets or receipts.
This mobile payments solution will be initially piloted in Singapore with DBS Bank for MasterCard PayPass cardholders and with the FEVO Prepaid MasterCard PayPass card issued by EZ-Link Pte Ltd.
MasterCard is already testing Gemalto's N-Flex NFC device in Singapore, with DBS Bank, transportation card issuer EZ-Link and mobile network operator StarHub.
In the blog post, Woo also explains his reasoning for making the switch from Orange to MasterCard:
Mobile payments are going global and we're seeing what the phone can do and how it can change and enhance everyday life.
There's so much potential in the area of mobile payments. This is where the mobile phone truly becomes a device that can make purchases as well as a sophisticated tool for personal finance. Maybe so much so that it could one day even replace the traditional wallet.
I joined MasterCard just a few weeks ago, coming from France Telecom Orange Group. While I was there, I led the development of the 'Orange Money' mobile payment program. I came to MasterCard, though, because I know that at its core, MasterCard is a true payments company with a long, successful history of innovating and implementing new technologies all over the world.
"This year is the year when we're all going to see tremendous momentum in this area," he added. "I truly believe MasterCard is the company to help make that a reality and I'm delighted to be leading that charge."
Last month, Visa Europe announced that the first commercial deployment of its iPhone payments application, which lets customers make payments with their iPhone via the iCarte add-on, is set to go live in Turkey.
Visa, however, continues to work with DeviceFidelity to bring the company's In2Pay device to market, both as a microSD format add on and as a sleeve for iPhones. In December, In2Pay became the first NFC device to be certified by Visa for commercial deployments.