New mobile commerce initiative leverages power of NFC-enabled cards
MasterCard has announced that a new NFC-based payment service and loyalty program is now available to alumni of Kenya’s Kenyatta University. The program is meant to address consumer demand concerning new and more convenient payment services. MasterCard has a strong interest in mobile payments and its new service is meant to take advantage of the work MasterCard has done to promote mobile commerce in Kenya over the past few years. Kenya is one of the most active mobile commerce markets in Africa currently.
Kenya proves an active market for mobile payments
While MasterCard has established a strong foothold for mobile commerce in Kenya, its latest initiative is not actually based on using the capabilities of mobile devices. Instead, the initiative is encompassed in a simple NFC-enabled card, which is linked to an active MasterCard account. This card is meant to be used to purchase goods and services in convenient ways by leveraging the properties of NFC technology. The card can also be used to pay certain bills and even medical expenses. Cardholders using the NFC card to purchase products at local retail stores will receive a 10% discount on their transactions.
NFC card available to 400,000 alumni
Currently, the NFC cards are only available to alumni of the Kenyatta University. Some 400,000 students that have graduated from the university have access to the service offered by MasterCard. Many Kenyan consumers have expressed a great deal of interest in mobile commerce and payment services such as that being offered by MasterCard. Despite this interest, there are still many challenges that MasterCard faces in the mobile commerce space and the company is keen to ensure that its latest initiative is commercially viable by testing it among a relatively small demographic.
MasterCard seeks higher exposure through NFC-enabled cards
Most mobile commerce initiatives are based on the use of NFC technology. This means that only NFC-enabled smartphones and tablets can participate in such initiatives. These devices are still very rare in the global market, making mobile commerce relatively exclusive to a select few consumers. In using an NFC-enabled prepaid card, MasterCard believes that it can expose a greater number of consumers to the concept of mobile payments without relying on the availability of NFC-enabled mobile devices.