MasterCard’s innovative approach to travel
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MasterCard’s innovative approach to travel

Global cashless payment provider MasterCard is innovating the travel space – and the convenience its contactless payment solution offers could innovate the sector. In a recent interview with, MasterCard’s vice president of Enterprise Partnerships/head of Urban Mobility, Will Judge, was eager to talk about how that convenience was playing out on London’s underground transportation system.

According to Judge, the tap-and-pay process is a simple one: “You arrive, you see the contactless logo you recognize – in the same was you would see the logo at a retailer or a point of sale – and you tap it and you get access to the journey, and you tap out again.”

He said that the attractiveness of this process centered on the fact that it is “understandable wherever you go in the world.” There’s no pre-loading of data or money, nothing to register, nothing to download, and no need to add any functionality beyond the phone itself. Judge says: “frankly, you have better things to do if you are visiting cities and travelling.”

MasterCard’s share price is up by 18% so far this year


SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Judge puts convenience as a high priority, saying: “the first thing that is essential in a transit situation is the time taken at the gate.” No one wants to use a service that takes hours and results in long queues. But that meant that figuring out ticket prices and authorizing payments had to be done via backend wizardry, rather than time consuming front-end usability.

“The fare might no be known just on passenger entry. You have to figure out when did this person start and where the person starts, and where did this person leave and when.” He said. The answer is a combination of technology and access to the large transport providers’ data.

MasterCard may have innovated travel irreparably – although it is too early yet to tell the true scope of the service. What is for sure, though, is that Ecommerce has moved away from desks and sofas and is now common in the physical world all around us.


Dominion holds MasterCard in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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