MasterCard Takes a Swipe at Google Wallet

MasterCard (NYSE:MA) announced on Monday the certification of 17 new smartphones for its PayPass Ready program. The new program certifies that devices with near field communications — or NFC — will be smoothly incorporated into its mobile payment system.

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According to MasterCard, PayPass will provide consumers with devices capable of making fast, secure contractless payments at hundreds of thousands of PayPass merchant locations around the globe. The company has released the new MasterCard-certified devices, including Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry Bold 9900/97090 and BlackBerry Curve 9360/9380, HTC One X, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) Smartphone Reference Device, LG Viper 4G LTE, LG Optimus Elite, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) 603, Nokia Lumia 610 NFC, Samsung Wave Y, Samsung Galaxy mini 2, Samsung Galaxy S Advance, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Sony (NYSE:SNE) Xperia S, Sony Xperia P, and Sony Xperia Sola.

MasterCard also released a new brand identifier, known as “MasterCard PayPass Ready,” which is now available to device manufacturers to use with NFC-enabled smartphones that have been tested and certified by MasterCard for use with PayPass technology. Essentially, the identifier will signify that a device is available for commercial deployment of PayPass. In turn, the identifier can be included as a sticker on the approved device, and in an approved device’s packaging, marketing collateral and advertisements. Nokia and RIM are among the first handset manufacturers committed to supporting this brand mark.

MasterCard is expected to lead the industry for mobile payment devices. Even though there are still relatively few smartphones enabled for NFC use, MasterCard asserts that millions of phones will ship with NFC technology embedded within them in the near future. This could mean bad news for mobile payment systems like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet, which have been experiencing security issues of all sorts.

Meanwhile, Visa (NYSE:V) has also certified at least eight NFC phones to run payWave, including the Lumia 610, Intel’s reference device, Samsung Galaxy S II, the LG Optimus Net and BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9790 and Curve 9360 and 9380. However, Visa’s latest public certification list is only certifiable through February.

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