Visa, Mastercard Hit Mobile World Congress

March 2, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

For those not familiar with Mobile World Congress, think of it as like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every January, only pretty much only for mobile devices and mobile network functions.

Mobile is the name of the game out there, and mobile payments are also on hand. Visa and Mastercard were both in play at the big show, showing off some exciting new advances.

Visa offered an unusual approach, though one that has been seen before previously. It puts to use quick response (QR) codes as part of its mVisa payment service, and has already gone live in some key areas, including Rwanda, Kenya and India. Reports suggest that Pakistan and Egypt will be following in short order.

Using QR codes allows the system to be brought in comparatively inexpensively, which is likely a draw for users in developing markets. Thanks to the flexible nature of QR codes, it also helps in regions that don’t have the best Internet connectivity. That doesn’t just include far-off countries, either; it can also be helpful in commonly underserved areas like rural parts of developed nations.

Mastercard, meanwhile, stepped up its own operations by teaming up with Oracle to offer a new, more streamlined digital payments system represented by a mobile app called Qkr!.

The Qkr system uses Masterpass to help smooth out the process of mobile payments for places like restaurants and retail stores, allowing users to not only order goods at such locations in advance, but likewise pay for same before even setting foot in the location.

Advance ordering has proven a hit with customers and retailers alike, and helps make the whole process faster and more convenient for all concerned. It can start some serious problem as well—assuming the store or restaurant gets too many orders for its staff to fill—but with proper management, many of these can be prevented in advance.

Already several pub chains in England are putting the service to use, with other nations—including the United States—to follow in 2017.

The two companies have long been rivals, but these new advancements are clearly not going to be at loggerheads. The duo may well find success in their respective fields, and that’s good news all around for both Visa and Mastercard alike.