MasterCard opens up to mobile developers

Ronny Kerr · May 26, 2010 · Short URL:

PayPal's open payments system, PayPal X, now has some actual competition

MasterCardMasterCard announced on Tuesday that it plans to open its proprietary credit cards payment platform to global developers to work on Web and smartphone applications.

MasterCard expects the APIs to be used in creating online games, merchant e-commerce Web sites, mobile applications, and payroll systems. The APIs will be released sometime later this year on a new portal where software developers can sign up to receive access to the newly released MasterCard APIs.

On the portal, developers will have access to technical documentation, software development kits, sample source code, reference guides, other testing applications, and even a forum intended to inspire collaboration between MasterCard engineers and developers.

"We are excited about tapping into the ingenuity of software developers around the globe to help create the next generation of game-changing payment applications," said Chief Innovation Officer Josh Peirez.

Of course, when the MasterCard APIs launch, they won't be the first payment system to open up to developers.

MasterCard will be competing directly with one of the most prominent e-commerce businesses for years, PayPal, which just recently initiated its own open payments system, PayPal X.

Since the launch of the PayPal API last fall, "thousands of developers have signed up, hundreds of apps have been built, and millions of dollars have transacted over our platform," according to senior director of PayPal X, Damon Hougland.

Demonstrating that it is definitely ahead of the curve on this one, PayPal says Facebook, IBM, and Salesforce already take advantage of its open payments platform and, next month, the company is letting developers collect credit card payments from within their PayPal X based applications.

While MasterCard's announcement certainly marks an attack on PayPal X, PayPal has been in this for a few months now and already has built quite a bit of steam. There's no telling really which payment system developers might prefer.

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