This week at Mobile World Congress, MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and Syniverse announced that they are collaborating to provide several new mobile and payment services to that will benefit mobile users that travel abroad.
The coolest new consumer-focused feature of this collaboration (currently in pilot phase) will allow consumers to opt-in to using location features on their mobile phone to validate their credit card transactions, while traveling abroad. There’s nothing worse for a traveler than having their credit card declined while traveling abroad just because the financial institution behind their card doesn’t know their location. Likewise, it’s equally annoying for credit card users who aren’t traveling to find out their card number has been used illegally overseas. This collaboration between Syniverse and MasterCard will hopefully eliminate both problems by giving financial institutions a new tool to fuel decisions about when to approve or decline a credit card transaction, enabling them to approve a transaction only when it occurs in the same country in which the user’s mobile phone is switched on.
Hany Fam, President Global Strategic Alliances at MasterCard looks forward to the future: “This collaboration of two global technology leaders opens up a whole new range of possibilities for end users, ensuring a seamless payment and mobile experience. By leveraging the speed and intelligence of our global network and combining it with geolocation solutions, we are enabling your MasterCard to uniquely work where you and your phone are, anywhere in the world.”
Around 75 million mobile phone users travel outside their home country each month, but according to Syniverse, 70 percent of those people switch their mobile data function off when they arrive, presumably to avoid roaming charges. For this reason, MasterCard and Syniverse also plan to give Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) the ability to let opted in users buy prepaid data packages directly on their mobile phones when they arrive in a new country.
Jeff Gordon, President and CEO, Syniverse said: “The next growth phase of mobile is through the expansion of the diverse players within the ecosystem, and Syniverse’s unique position in the ecosystem allows us to serve as the mobile bridge. We continue to grow our long tradition of commitment to mobile operators, and this collaboration with the world’s leading brands will build new opportunities, resulting in more powerful mobile experiences for end users, new revenue opportunities for mobile operators and strengthened brand loyalty for all.”
MasterCard and Syniverse also plan to offer brands the ability to deliver targeted offers to opted in users, based upon the location of their mobile device, so that in the future, users may be able to get special offers on their mobile phone based upon their proximity to, for example, a retail store. Though clearly, offers like this will need to be crafted carefully by brands and delivered on an opt-in basis only in order to avoid rubbing consumers the wrong way.