By Aimee Chanthadavong

MasterCard has launched a five year plan that will commit the company to innovation, security and transparency.

The MasterCard Roadmap indicates the company’s plan to the rollout of new MasterCard products and services, further safeguards to protect payments, both online and at the point of sale, and basic requirements on providing transparency on fees across all MasterCard payment products.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Andrew Cartwright, MasterCard Australia country manager, said Australia’s payment system is embedded on trust and consistency and MasterCard’s five year plan intends on keeping to that.

“This plan is a timeline of requirements that go out as far as 2015. It allows us to clearly communicate and give advance notice of the journey we’re going to move forward on and it gives people, including retailers, and the bank community time to plan and prepare for the changes,” he said.

“To the extent they can work with their acquiring banks in terms of understanding the plan. And any terminal upgrades, online merchant, how does that impact them, so I think in terms of the road map gives them an idea future plan.”

Core to the MasterCard Roadmap philosophy will be continued innovation in the payments industry. MasterCard will focus on bringing PayPass MasterCard‟s contactless payment feature, to mass market.

Currently, there are over 5.3 million PayPass cards that can be used at more than 35,000 merchant locations including McDonalds, Bunnings, 7Eleven and JB Hi-fi. Between June and December 2010, MasterCard saw growth in the number of PayPass transactions in Australia of over 235 per cent.

It is expected that by October 2012, all new MasterCards will be PayPass enabled and merchants including supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores and fast food restaurants to have at least one PayPass enabled terminal. And by April 2014, all existing cards must be PayPass enabled and all existing merchants will have PayPass functionality.

Merchants will also offer “Purchase with Cash Back‟ to Debit MasterCard cardholders when using a PIN where consumers can withdraw cash on their Debit MasterCard cards.

“Contactless payments means there’s speed and convenience for not only consumers but retailers, particularly in merchant categories where speed is important. In addition, we have seen some merchants that use contactless payments overseas report incremental sales. Contactless also reduces the cost of cash for businesses,” Cartwright said.

With a strong focus on security, between October 2011 and the end of 2015 MasterCard will introduce robust security measures such as ensure that all Australians banks must be EMV capable and online merchants must provide a MasterCard SecureCode Authentication for transactions over $200.

“The real benefit at the end of the day in terms of continued trust in the payment is that consumers would able to use their card with confidence whether that be online or offline,” Cartwright said.

“Ultimately the cardholder is still protected with zero liability if an unauthorised transaction occurs, given that it is reported on a timely basis.”