MasterCard to offer free Wi-Fi to cardholders visiting Britain

MasterCard will offer its customers free Wi-Fi when travelling abroad as part of its Priceless Cities initiative

MasterCard will offer its customers free Wi-Fi when travelling abroad as part of its Priceless Cities initiative.

Customers can download a mobile app, developed by BSkyB-owned company The Cloud, before travelling, which will allow them to use the more than 22,000 Wi-Fi hotspots available in the UK.

Roger Matthews, commercial director of The Cloud, said connectivity is core to an increasing number of mobile users for both data and voice, and that doesn’t change when they cross borders. 

“The inclusion of Wi-Fi in MasterCard’s Priceless Cities programme in the UK not only keeps cardholders connected, but also provides valuable location-based offers in key cities," he said.  

The app will help users to locate the nearest Wi-Fi spot to them and aims to allow these users to avoid high roaming costs from mobile operators.

Data roaming charges in the EU fell by more than 50% earlier this year, as new caps came into force limiting roaming charges for calls, texts and mobile data in Europe.           

The capping rules were set by the European Parliament, which voted to end roaming tariff fees across the EU as part of its goal of creating a single telecoms market.

Some mobile operators have started early. Vodafone allows pay-monthly individuals and some business travellers to use their existing UK minutes, text and data allowances abroad. Three has expanded the number of countries included in its Feel At Home service.

MasterCard’s Priceless Cities scheme offers promotions to customers travelling overseas to ensure they make the most of their experience in the city they are visiting. Offers will cover 36 cities by the end of this year.

MasterCard has recently been investing in technology to make transactions safer and easier for consumers. Earlier this year, the firm paired up with Zwipe to develop a payment card with a built-in fingerprint authentication sensor.

The organisation also responded to the rising levels of contactless payments by issuing European retailers a deadline of 2020 to ensure all point of sale (POS) systems support contactless payments.

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