MasterCard Inks VimpelCom Deal, Launches NFC Services in Brazil (Feb. 28, 2013)
Feb. 28, 2013
MasterCard Worldwide pushed its global mobile payments strategy forward this week with announcements of diverse initiatives targeting new customers, including a strategic partnership with Amsterdam-based mobile network operator VimpelCom Ltd. to reach unbanked consumers in 18 countries with a “mobile money” service, as well as the card network’s first NFC launch in Brazil.
MasterCard’s deal with VimpelCom, announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, encompasses the opportunity to extend mobile payments services to the carrier’s 212 million customers in 18 countries, including Russia, its largest market, MasterCard said. The first offering through the partnership is a prepaid program launching this year in Italy for customers of VimpelCom’s Wind Italy mobile telecom subsidiary, in partnership with CartaLIS. “Today in many of the countries where VimpelCom operates, mobile penetration is much higher than ownership of a bank account,” said Mikhail Gerchuck, VimpelCom’s group chief commercial and strategy officer.
MasterCard simultaneously announced the launch of its first NFC payment services in Brazil, in partnership with local bank Itaú, mobile telecom network TIM, Brazilian payment card acquirer Redecard and Gemalto. Through the partnership, certain Itaú customers will receive NFC-enabled smartphones they may use to make purchases at select retail locations in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, MasterCard said.