MasterCard Introduces Global Payments to Possibly Compete with Bitcoins and PayPal

MasterCard has launched MasterCard Send, a personal payments service that enables funds to be sent quickly and securely to consumers domestically and internationally. The announcement never mentioned Bitcoins by name but it certainly appears to be a reaction to competition from the rapidly-growing popularity of the new digital currency and also as a reaction to PayPal’s very popular payment system.

In fact, Bitcoin is less of a currency and more of a method of quickly and easily transferring funds at almost no cost. Bitcoin works well with both domestic and international money transfers. While not totally anonymous, Bitcoin transfers are difficult to trace. In order to compete, the new MasterCard Send service promises to be easy to use and available to everyone, even to non-techies. However, personal privacy apparently is not a goal of MasterCard Send. All information about a financial transfer, including identifying information of both parties, is available to MasterCard. Government agencies presumably will also be able to obtain the information with an easy-to-obtain court order.

(Click here to view a larger version of the graphic to the right.)

Available today in the United States, MasterCard Send permits sending secure real-time payments to consumers, both banked and unbanked. The recipients get the funds immediately on their MasterCard or other cards, into mobile money and bank accounts or via cash agent outlets.

“Through MasterCard Send, we have enabled a breakthrough solution that takes the pain out of the system, provides faster clearing of payments, and delivers a better user experience for senders and receivers alike,” said MasterCard chief emerging payments officer Ed McLaughlin.

Barb King, a group head in the MasterCard Payment Systems Integrity Group, said, “consumers are much more comfortable giving their personal details to their financial institution than they are to many other types of entities,” and that is a big reason why she believes MasterCard Send is more appealing than the bitcoin protocol.

You can read MasterCard’s announcement at http://goo.gl/UWzlo9.

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