MasterCard International is to offer e-mail-based funds transfer services to member financial institutions through an alliance with CertaPay, the Canadian bank-backed person-to-person payments outfit.
Under the agreement, MasterCard members that install the CertaPay platform can offer their customers the ability to use their MasterCard credit or debit account to pay another person through their participating financial institution. The card organisation recently introduced a system for members to clearly identify P2P transactions, which had not been possible prior to April 2001.
The platform leverages the financial institution's own security and brand strategies, says MasterCard. CertaPay's P-to-P E-mail Money Transfer application enables consumers to send and receive money - in real time, using only an e-mail address - from their own financial institution's online banking or online account management services.
Consumers using the system will not have to reveal their account information to any other party while conducting the P2P transaction and no money will be transferred through the e-mail notification system, that alerts participants to the status of the transaction.
Carl Stefanelli, vice president, e-commerce product development, MasterCard International, comments: "We are pleased to work with CertaPay to offer our members the ability to capture some of today's fastest-growing transaction segments, including online auctions and other P2P transactions such as cross border transfers."
Initially available for payments in North America, Stefanelli says the platform also has the potential to assist issuers in making international transactions easier and more efficient due to MasterCard's worldwide payment network.
Michael Ginsberg, CEO, CertaPay, notes: "E-mail is a natural medium to facilitate money transfer because it is ubiquitous and international, and everyone knows how to use it. There are numerous benefits for both financial institutions and their customers to take advantage of the P2P space."
A 2001 TowerGroup report estimates that Internet-based person-to-person payments will grow from 42 million transactions in 2000 to more than 4 billion transactions in 2005.