Mastercard Goes Mobile

Mastercard, the world’s biggest payment card company, unveiled on Thursday a service for banks that lets them install payment cards directly into customer’s mobile phones much easier than before, Reuters reports, in what could be a tipping point for the nascent mobile phone wallet market.

“Consumers will be able to use a phone as a wallet or as an access card simply by waving it over a wireless reader,” the article said, “and in some cases punching a PIN number into the phone—similar to how travelers in Tokyo and London access public transport.”

The report said that it will probably be 2010 at the earliest before we see this technology in any widespread use even with the new MasterCard deal, since wireless carriers, mobile phone manufacturers, and retail banks still have to sort out all the particulars together.