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Mobile Roundup: Masterpass Adds In-Store Purchasing; Starbucks, Android Pay Hit New Markets



Mastercard is expanding its Masterpass digital payment service to enable users to make in-store purchases, adding a major competitor to the increasingly crowded field of mobile payment services—and one that boasts a roster of 250,000 merchant partners and a built-in base of existing users. Meanwhile, two other high-profile mobile payment apps—Starbucks and Android Pay—are expanding in Asia-Pacific.

Mastercard has revamped its Masterpass digital payment service, enabling users to make contactless payments via smartphone at more than 5 million merchant locations in 77 countries, including BJ’s Wholesale Club. The contactless service initially will be available on Android devices, the network said. Bank partners for the contactless function include Bank of America, Capital One, Citi and KeyBank, among others. Rollout will begin in the U.S. later this month, with Europe and Middle East/Africa expansion taking place by the end of this year.

Along with the mobile announcement, Mastercard has debuted new branding, eliminating the capital “C” that previously appeared in its name and logo, while “Masterpass” has replaced “MasterPass” as the official name of the service.

In other mobile payments news, members of the My Starbucks Rewards program in China now can store the companion Starbucks Gift Card on their phones within the Starbucks China mobile app. Once the card is loaded, users can make purchases via barcode scan at more than 2,200 Starbucks locations across China. The app also includes account management, card balance checker and a store locator feature. Starbucks launched its gift cards in China in early 2014, and the coffee giant has grown rapidly in the market, adding more than 1,200 stores since that time. Early this year, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced plans to open 500 more Chinese locations every year for the next five years.

Meanwhile, Google has launched its Android Pay mobile wallet in Australia. The service is the final of the “big three” mobile payment platforms to hit the market; Apple Pay debuted in Australia late last year (after contentious negotiations with the country’s major banks), while Samsung Pay rolled out Down Under in June. But Android Pay’s 35 financial institution partners could give it a leg up, as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay only have a handful of banking partners each. Android also is the most popular mobile operating system in Australia, owning 64 percent of the mobile market share in the country.

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