Home An Open API from MasterCard to Develop Applications? Priceless

An Open API from MasterCard to Develop Applications? Priceless

In a press release this morning, MasterCard has announced that desktop and mobile developers will have access to an API from the credit card giant later this year. The company hopes that by opening its technology to developers, new and innovative e-commerce applications that leverage the MasterCard network will be created, potentially competing with the likes of Visa, PayPal and Square.

MasterCard Chief Innovation Officer Josh Peirez says the company is “excited about tapping into the ingenuity of software developers around the globe to help create the next generation of game-changing payment applications.” A newly launched portal – MasterCard Labs – will give developers access to APIs, SDKs, guides and forums for discussing and experimenting with the company’s technology.

The announcement comes at a time when the mobile-payments market has begun to heat up with competition between startups and large credit card providers. San Francisco-based startup Square has many people excited about its mobile application and dongle that allows credit cards to be scanned by various mobile devices; online payment staple PayPal recently teamed up with Bump Technologies to provide a mobile transaction service as well.

Visa also recently announced its own foray into the mobile payments market. Earlier this month, the MasterCard competitor teamed with DeviceFidelity to launch special cases for iPhones which would allow users to take advantage of Visa’s wireless and contact-less payment method, Visa payWave, straight from their phones.

But mobile payments is just one of the platforms MasterCard hopes developers will innovate on using its technology. The company says it has identified 20 other areas in which their APIs could be used, including payroll systems, social networking applications, eWallets, and online games. With the growing popularity of sites like Blippy, which allows users to automatically share their credit card purchases with their friends, MasterCard may be providing a valuable API to developers at a ripe moment for these kinds of platforms and services.

Many have been skeptical about these new services due to apparent security risks that come from mobile payment systems, but MasterCard is taking precautions to make sure their platform is not abused. According to its press release this morning, “all developers will be approved and registered by MasterCard to ensure that MasterCard payment and data services continue to be used appropriately and productively.”

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