By Claire Reilly

With retail experts and industry leaders from across the country gathering in Sydney today for the Online Retailer Conference & eCommerce Expo, discussion has centred on the changing retail landscape in the 21st Century and what roles online and store-based sales will have in the future of Australian and global retail.

One brand heralding a new era in online payments is MasterCard, which has used the conference to announce the launch of a new MasterPass online payment system — an online wallet that allows users to collate all their card information in one cloud-based profile and use it to make payments on e-commerce sites.

By using MasterPass, consumers no longer need to enter card details, billing information and shipping addresses on individual shopping websites. The single online wallet will help users store and manage their payment and shipping information, and when they wish to purchase through a third party website, this information will be “securely shared with [the] website or mobile app, speeding up the checkout process”.

To launch the service, MasterCard has announced partnerships with 16 payment service providers who will introduce the MasterPass service to their customer base. These include banks such as NAB and ANZ, as well as companies such as eWay and Merchant Warrior that provide e-commerce capabilities to retail websites.

According to Matt Barr, head of market development and innovation at MasterCard, “payments shouldn’t really be a feature” of the online shopping experience. MasterPass is set to streamline the buying process, which he said will revolutionise the way retailers and consumers engage with e-commerce.

“Both from a consumer and from a retailer perspective, how do you create really compelling [online shopping] experiences? The wallet is creating shortcuts to those experiences,” he said. “We don’t want people sitting there and filling out online forms, that’s just a pain.

“For consumers, it’s a single electronic wallet. It’s coming from their preferred payment provider, which is the bank, or wherever their financial services relationship sits.

“For merchants, it will really streamline things for a slick, frictionless checkout experience, which will reduce shopping cart abandonment and will lead to more revenue.”

“Wallet-based checkout experiences are the future of online and digital payments,” he said. “We see MasterPass as the future of payments. It’s kind of like MasterCard 2.0.”

While MasterPass is currently available for e-commerce purchases, Barr said the retail payment landscape was rapidly evolving and the wallet service could soon be used in retail stores with the help of a device such as a smartphone.