MasterCard has added in-app payments to its MasterPass digital wallet as it bids to grab a slice of a fast-growing multi-billion dollar industry.
According to ABI Research, overall revenues from mobile applications, including in-app purchases, will reach $46 billion by 2016, more than five times greater than the $8.5 billion earned in 2011.
The new MasterCard service means that apps with MasterPass embedded in them enables customers to complete a purchase with a single click on their phone or tablet, eliminating the need to store card credentials.
So far, Forbes Digital Commerce, Fat Zebra, MLB Advanced Media, NoQ, Starbucks Australia and Shaw Theatres Singapore have signed their apps up to the service, which will go live in the second quarter.
Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer, MasterCard, says: "We're creating great experiences for consumers across all channels and all devices, and enabling merchants to reach new consumers in ways not possible in the pre-digital world." McLaughlin spoke to Finextra at Mobile World Congress about the feature
Meanwhile, MasterCard's increasing focus on mobile has also seen it agree to buy C-Sam, an m-wallet outfit in which it already had a minority investment. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
C-Sam technology has been used in commercial mobile payment deployments around the world, including in the US telco-led Isis project, Japan's DNP and Singapore's Starhub.
MasterCard says that C-Sam's on-device application and back-end infrastructure will help it push the use of MasterPass both in-store and online across multiple communications technologies, including NFC, QR codes and remote checkout.
The acquisition comes as an analysis of social media sentiment suggests that mobile payments are moving into the mainstream. The analysis from Prime Research, commissioned by MasterCard, looked at 13 million social media comments across Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums.
Consumers have moved from questioning whether to use mobile payments - the third most discussed topic in 2012 - to deciding which mobile payments option to use - the second most discussed topic in 2013.
Adopters now drive 81% most of the online conversation, a big change from the previous year, suggesting that consumers have shifted from discussing mobile payments to trying out various options.
Merchant acceptance is the most visible topic, generating 15% of the total conversation and 48% of merchant talk. Merchants also account for 22% of conversations and carry an 88% positive sentiment rate.
The one concern continues to be security, with 66% of social media chatter about the issue negative.