MasterCard and GM: Pay with your key fob


NEW YORK — Start your engine with a keyfob, sure, but what about to pay for gas?

MasterCard wants to enable payments on devices — part of a growing movement loosely called Internet of Things — so that you can transact a purchase of everything from the ring on your finger to the key fob for your car.

On Monday, MasterCard announced the program to make it happen, with an assist from a variety of industry partners. There’s Qualcomm and NXP on the tech side, Capital One as the first banking issuer, and General Motors with designs on producing that first payments-capable key fob, the idea being that you might pay for food or gas when making a pit stop on a road trip.

Other partners include Ringly, which makes “smart rings” for women, Nymi, which has a wearable biometric band that uses your heart rate to authenticate your identity, and TrackR, which sells a Bluetooth location-tracker. Fashion designer Adam Selman is also designing products from which you’ll be able to transact.

MasterCard Chief Emerging Payments Officer Ed McLaughlin says such nascent “Internet of Payment Things” represents the next wave in commerce. The first of these payment-capable products are expected to roll out in the U.S. in 2016.

“Everyone is seeing that payments are moving beyond mobile,” McLaughlin said during an interview. “For a long time the focus was on the smartphone itself. We believe every device will be used for payments.”

Adds Tom Poole, the managing vice president for digital payments at Capital One: “We really want you to use the form factor (to pay) that makes the most sense for you.”

Compatible products will have an NFC chip inside and leverage “contactless” payment terminals, similar to the way you might pay with your phone.  Transactions will be “tokenized” and secure, MasterCard says.

You’ll be able to monitor transactions and accounts through an app on your phone, and most importantly be able to remotely turn off the payment mechanism in a product that gets lost or stolen. You can use your existing MasterCard credit card accounts, and earn any eligible loyalty or rewards points.

Capital One’s Poole says a number of factors are coming together to make this possible. Hardware costs are dropping. Technical and industry standards around NFC terminals and chip cards are getting adopted. Huge investments are being made on the security side. “Banks are perpetually upping their game,” Poole says.

To be sure, challenges remain for a mobile payments industry still trying to persuade consumers to increasingly eschew physical wallets and plastic credit cards and transact instead with their smartphones and watches.

“As with all of this stuff there’s going to be a learning curve or adoption curve. This vision doesn’t come to life overnight,” says Jordan McKee, an analyst with 451 Research.

But McKee figures Visa and other financial companies will follow MasterCard on a similar mobile payments strategy.

You can check out MasterCard’s video on this below.

Email:; Follow USA TODAY tech columnist @edbaig on Twitter

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Daniel Csoka is a visionary payments strategist and has successfully created and brought to market award-winning emerging payments systems and mobile technologies that have been utilized by over 200M people worldwide. Over the past 20 years focused on emerging payments and alternative financial services, he has assembled patent-pending international ecosystems of mobile network operators, financial institutions, card associations, electronics transactions processors, money transfer operators, retailers and POS networks and successfully sold and brought to market innovative Mobile, Prepaid, Payments, E-Commerce, Virtual Payments, Loyalty and Mobile Money Transfer services globally. He has provided a broad range of marketing, strategic and industry oriented consulting services to mobile operators, card associations, financial institutions, mobile financial services providers, equipment vendors, content providers and electronic transactions processors worldwide in the payments industry. He is proficient at identifying new opportunities and is well-practiced at navigating through complex regulatory environments to bring those visions to market. He is adept at pairing industry trends and best practices with internal business knowledge helping companies shape, formulate and successfully execute their strategy. He effectively blends entrepreneurial instincts with a keen understanding of customers’ needs to consistently deliver best of breed payments solutions. He is a recognized industry expert and frequent industry speaker and has chaired, moderated or spoken at numerous payments conferences and forums worldwide. He has been quoted on various issues related to payments and FinTech in many payments industry related business publications including, among others,, Fierce Wireless, RCR Wireless, Wireless Week, Wireless Review, Chicago Tribune, The Prepaid Press, Billing & OSS World, Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Payments News and Business Week.

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