Mastercard, Worldpay, Vocalink Get Together for Mobile Payments Push

July 18, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

One of the latest moves in the mobile payments sector is also perhaps one of the strangest, as Mastercard is actually bringing in some help to allow shoppers in Great Britain to pull an end run around Mastercard’s own network while still allowing Brits to engage in mobile payments. It’s known as the Pay by Bank app, and it’s putting Mastercard’s Vocalink tools to work with a little help from Worldpay.

Pay by Bank is actually a fairly clever notion that lets customers make online payments directly from a banking app, which effectively turns the user’s bank account into a mobile wallet that’s effectively supported anywhere Mastercard is accepted, which is just about everywhere.

Originally developed by the Zapp unit of Vocalink back in 2013, it was designed to give Brits a new option in mobile payments that turned to the Faster Payments structure for support. It had a goal of 20 million users by 2017, which would have put it on par with even Mastercard itself, so it’s small surprise that Mastercard bought out the competitor rather than face it down later.

Sadly, Pay by Bank never quite hit those levels—it can only be used with the Pingit app issued by Barclays—and so Mastercard is looking to light a fire under the process with some new support from Worldpay. It’s already working; by the end of this year, HSBC customers will be able to put the tool to work, and more merchants will be getting in on the action with Worldpay.

This doesn’t exactly make Mastercard look good. It’s invested a hefty sum into taking a competitor out of the field only to discover that it really wasn’t all that much of a competitor. Now, it’s putting more resources into making Pay by Bank the competitor that it was supposed to have been all along? That’s like throwing good money after bad. Of course, it’s worth noting that Mastercard did take a potential major rival out of the field, and in the process gave itself access to a potential market that could have rivaled its own.

In the end, Mastercard is now putting more behind a rival it now owns, helping to ensure that customers either stay where they are or contribute to Mastercard in a different way.