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MasterCard’s First Latin American NFC Trial Expected to Lead to 2013 Rollout

A MasterCard NFC payment pilot in Brazil, launched last week with Itaú bank, mobile operator TIM Brasil, point-of-sale terminal supplier Redecard, and France-based Gemalto, is expected to lead to a full rollout of mobile PayPass services in Brazil.

The pilot marks MasterCard’s first Latin American NFC trial. A spokeswoman told NFC Times that the company has no current estimate of the current number of PayPass users in Brazil. However, “all partners expect to have rollouts in 2013,” she said. Other telcos and banks are also gearing up for NFC commercial launches, sources told NFC Times.

The trial’s 50 participants will be able to tap NFC-enabled smartphones to pay at 100 merchants in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro using a Mobile PayPass application. Brazil-based Redecard provided these point of sale terminals.

Itaú bank issued cards for the trial, and Gemalto supplied the NFC SIMs and the TSM platform. Participants received NFC-enabled smartphones for the trial, a MasterCard spokeswoman told NFC Times, but MasterCard declined to name the model or manufacturer of the phones.

MasterCard announced the pilot’s launch on Feb. 27 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

During the same event, the company also announced MasterPass, a digital wallet service derived from PayPass Wallet, which the company announced in spring of 2012.

MasterPass is a reorganization of MasterCard’s mobile offering and team and core to its “digital convergence” strategy, as NFC Times reported.

Since then, PayPass Wallet “has been in production trial with select merchants and issuers,” said a spokeswoman. MasterPass would also be open to cards from issuers other than MasterCard and enable payment online or with NFC. The service will also incorporate loyalty programs and delivery of special offers via NFC or QR codes.

MasterPass will be available to customers in Australia and Canada by the end of March 2013, a MasterCard spokeswoman told NFC Times. Customers in the U.S. and UK will be able to sign up later in the spring or summer of 2013. By the end of the year, MasterCard expects to roll out MasterPass to Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain and Sweden.

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