MasterCard launches virtual "wallet" in Singapore

SINGAPORE - MasterCard officially launched its new digital payments platform in Singapore on Monday in a bid to grab a larger slice of the growing e-commerce pie.

Called MasterPass, the platform is centred around a virtual "wallet" that stores payment details - such as mailing addresses and credit card information - in a secure online cloud.

This will simplify web payments by allowing users to fill in fewer details each time they make a purchase online. The stored information will be sent to the web merchant through MasterPass.

MasterCard Singapore general manager Julienne Loh said the new platform will make "every device... a payment device".

"Singapore is already an evolved market for digital payments, and we continue to see great potential for e-commerce growth," she added in a statement.

According to MasterCard, MasterPass is "open", which means that consumers can use the platform with cards from competitors like Visa or American Express.

But MasterCard also has plans to build in "additional special features and functionality" that will work better with its own cards.

Shaw Theatres, SISTIC and Singapore Airlines are some local businesses that already accept payment through MasterPass, while banks such as DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, Maybank have also gone "live" with the service.

Payment services provider Nets is also offering the platform to its customers through its online unit, eNets.

Singapore is the first South-east Asian country to receive MasterPass, with over 250 merchants here already offering the platform.

First launched in February last year, MasterPass has already been accepted by over 40,000 online merchants for customers in countries like the United States, Britain, China, and Australia.