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Mastercard woos software developers with API platform

Credit card company Mastercard is investing heavily in digital payments and wants to engage with developers and startups

Mastercard has launched a new platform for software developers looking to integrate its payments functionality into their applications.

The credit card company is increasingly pushing for greater engagement with developers, as the payments market moves rapidly to using new tools for online and mobile payments.

The Mastercard Developers platform offers access to more than 25 application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be used to make payments in apps easier and more secure.

“Mastercard Developers empowers our customers, partners and their developers in their efforts to innovate and grow their own businesses,” said Oran Cummins, senior vice-president for APIs at Mastercard.

“The platform will serve as a key way to integrate Mastercard technology and services into their digital solutions in an easy and cost-effective way. Consumers will benefit from the simpler, faster and safer experiences driven by these efforts.”

In May 2016, Mastercard teamed up with Transport for London (TfL) and British Airways (BA) to run a travel technology hackathon designed to create innovative services for travellers. Contestants were given access to MasterCard, BA and TfL APIs to help develop their ideas.

Mastercard showed the scale of its ambition in the fast-growing digital payments market when it acquired UK payment processing network VocaLink for £700m.

Services run by London-based VocaLink include BACS, Faster Payments and the ATM network Link. Through these and other services, VocaLink processes more than 90% of salaries, 70% of household bills and almost all state benefits in the UK.

Tesco also announced a partnership with MasterCard in June, to develop more innovative digital payments capabilities for its customers, such as payments by mobile.

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Mastercard is also wooing tech startups to gain access to, and test out, the latest IT developments. Each quarter, MasterCard Start Path recruits startups for a six-month virtual programme.

For example, MasterCard is using artificial intelligence (AI) technology from one such startup, Norwich-based Rainbird, to support teams working on loyalty schemes in the UK.

The credit card company also operates eight research and development labs worldwide, where the firm explores payments integration into new areas such as augmented reality, virtual reality and the internet of things.

In July, rival Visa opened a technology innovation centre in Dubai to focus on cashless payments, as part of its global network of innovation centres, which also has locations in San Francisco and Singapore.

In August, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) called on the largest banks in the UK to develop a set of core open APIs to accelerate technological change in the UK retail banking sector. The CMA said the implementation of open APIs has the greatest potential to transform competition in retail banking.

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