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The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 27, 2017 • Issue 17:03:02

Mastercard, Oracle expand cross-channel initiative

Mastercard disclosed in late February 2017 that it will continue a joint initiative with Oracle, following a successful UK pilot in 2016. The companies expect their combined, multilayered technologies will help merchants improve payments security and customer reach, representatives stated.

"With close to 80 percent of consumers using technology at some point along their shopping journey, Mastercard is committed to unlocking omni-channel commerce for every device and delivering convenient experiences to users at-home, in-stores and on-the-go," said Chris Fendley, Senior Vice President, Merchant Development, at Mastercard. "Building on the success of our joint initiatives with Oracle in the UK, we can help retailers and hospitality providers connect with their customers in more engaging ways while enabling them to grow their businesses with scale, speed and security."

John Wethington, Chief Executive Officer of Austin,Texas-based MySensitiveData.com Inc., said, "It's interesting that the Mastercard and Oracle collaboration is coming on the heels of Oracle's data breach. POS has always been an Achilles' heel, whether it's in-store skimming or online hacking. Oracle needed a strong partner to help them improve and enhance product security."

In-store, online, cross-channel

The partnering companies will initially focus on in-store payments, as well as digital and cross-channel integration to enable merchants to transact with customers wherever they shop. Company sources stated these combined capabilities and global footprints will simplify and accelerate worldwide adoption of omnichannel technologies.

Oracle and Mastercard garnered positive reviews from early pilots at wagamama, Carluccio's, Young & Co.'s Brewery and Geronimo Pubs. Phase 2 of the roll out will include strategies that address the in-store experience, operational efficiencies and cross-channel consistency, the companies noted.

Continued expansion, consolidation

At the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Mastercard revealed plans to continue rolling out the company's Qkr! mobile app in Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa and the United States in 2017. Consumers can use the mobile app in a variety of venues, including gas stations, parking, sports arenas, and unattended retail, the company stated.

"Consumers are demanding more security and convenience," Wethington said. "There isn't a day that goes by without a data breach; consumers are suffering from breach fatigue; they're tired of getting new cards and becoming impatient with checkout procedures."

Consumers also want to buy things quickly and walk out, he noted. They may enter a Wal-Mart and see 50 cash registers, but only four lanes are open. They would rather visit a Sam's Club where they can scan items with their smartphones and present their virtual receipts as they exit the store, he added.

"Partnerships like Mastercard and Oracle or Visa and IBM Watson reflect a fundamental shift in the payments industry," Wethington said. "These international, enterprise-scale partnerships reflect a bigger trend of payments consolidation that has been developing over time. I expect to see a similar deep link between American Express and a POS provider.

Wethington expects retailers that use Oracle POS systems to have confidence in Mastercard's secure payment schemes and encourage their customers to use digital payment technologies. If Mastercard can compel 20 percent of Oracle users to leverage and promote its payment schemes, the card brand can create a wave on the consumer side, he added.

Oracle is trying to innovate, Wethington noted. The company spent $5 billion to acquire Micros POS in 2014. If Oracle can solidify a secure platform with Mastercard and provide a value proposition to retailers, it will get a return on investment. If Micros gets cracked again, it will be a completely different discussion, he said. SEC charges former end of article

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