At a press conference at CTIA in New Orleans, MasterCard introduced PayPass Online, a version of its PayPass service that lets you buy things using your smartphone, or with a single click on the web. The system sounds like Amazon's "One-Click Buy" extended to other sites, or like PayPal — you have a single, secure login in MasterCard's system, and can use it to shop on any site. Companies can use PayPass APIs to integrate the system into their own, or use a MasterCard-built white label system. The system accepts any kind of card, and also integrates with an NFC-enabled cell phone.
MasterCard reps demoed the new tools using a Samsung Galaxy S II, as we took "a journey to London" all from within our hotel conference room. They showed off paying for a flight using the PayPass Wallet, which shows a virtual credit card as soon as you log in — you can save more than one card, and quickly switch which one is in use. Once we'd bought a flight, we headed over to Barnes & Noble to buy a Nook (apparently we're ignoring the "no electronics during takeoff" rule). Another entry of the same password, through the same process — this time with a shipping address — and we'd bought the ebook reader. We paid for a taxi with an NFC-enabled phone hooked into our PayPass account, and after a couple of minutes and several hundred dollars we'd bought everything we'd need using the same device. It's a clever system, and with MasterCard's weight behind should immediately be adopted widely.
The company said PayPass is now in 441,000 locations in 41 countries, a 40 percent growth in the last year. The company's definitely moving to take on PayPal, Amazon, and others trying to capture how you buy things online — and increasingly in the real world as well.