MasterCard extends tokenization platform to clothing, accessories and wearable devices

Adam Shelman
EMBEDDED: Designer Adam Selman, famed for dressing pop star Rihanna, is working with MasterCard on NFC-enabled fashion

MasterCard has extended the capabilities of its tokenization service to enable payments to be made using “virtually any device”, including NFC-enabled clothing, jewellery and vehicle keyfobs. “Products will begin rolling out in 2016 in the US,” the payments network says, “with plans to expand to other markets.”

“The program is an extension of the MasterCard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) and the Digital Enablement Express (Express) program, and brings to fruition the vision that every device will be a commerce device,” MasterCard explains. “Through MDES and Express, any accessory, wearable or device can be payment-enabled and quickly scaled to millions of MasterCard accounts.”

MasterCard has been working with chipmakers NXP and Qualcomm on the project and Capital One is the first issuer to take part in the programme.

“The Capital One Wallet will authenticate the users to provide strong security for provisioning and managing tokens,” MasterCard says. “It also includes enhanced real-time transaction notifications, identifying the device used in each transaction. Capital One is one of many issuers with tens of millions of MasterCard credit and debit accounts already participating in MDES.”

Extending capabilities

The payment network showed the new service at Money20/20 in Las Vegas today with demonstrations including:

“What we’re doing now is extending the capabilities of our credential management platform to make it extremely easy for all different kinds of device manufacturers across many categories to access secure payment credentials and literally make it possible for any device to be a commerce device,” Sherri Haymond, group head of digital channel engagement at MasterCard, told NFC World.

“What we’ve been doing is working with partners across a bunch of different verticals including automotive, fashion, technology and wearables to create a programme that would work for any of those things; a programme that was not device specific but, instead, could extend to virtually any category of device.”


“Adam Selman felt very strongly that we showcased the different possibilities that can happen when a creative mind like his gets married up with a technology platform like ours,” Haymond continued. “What we’re showcasing is a dress where payments can be enabled on the sleeve and also via a bow that ties on the front of the dress. Also, gloves, a handbag and some jewellery, all of which are commerce-enabled.

“I’m not sure how this will be commercialised starting in the spring and later, but Adam does plan on incorporating payments into his designs and we imagine that other designers will see the possibilities here and follow suit.”

Keyfobs and connected cars

“General Motors is extremely interested in the whole idea of connected car,” Haymond explained. “We think, and General Motors agrees, is that a great first step towards embedding payments into a connected car experience is to first commerce-enable something that is very understandable for consumers, and that is the keyfob.

“They plan to embed NFC credentials into their car keyfobs which goes into the ignition and starts the car so when you’re walking around and running errands and you come out of your car, you can use the actual keyfob for payments.

“What’s really interesting here is that this leads to the ability to connect the car console, in the future, to the credentials that will be inserted into the car via the keyfob to enable secure remote commerce experiences later on.

“We think it will be seamless and we also think that it really is quite different to what we’ve heard and seen from our competitors in this space where those use cases are really focused around more traditional ecommerce-type experiences. We’re working with General Motors to come up with what those use cases will be.”


“We are also working with a really innovative jewellery company, a fashion brand called Ringly,” Haymond added. “They’re on the opposite end of the spectrum from General Motors. They are a very innovative startup company that created a ring that was originally conceived for women to be able to get colour-coded and different kinds of vibration notifications via a ring that you wear on a finger.

“We’re enabling that for payments. So, you could be wearing a ring and you could be using that in your day-to-day life. As you get your coffee in the morning, you can just pay for it with a tap of your ring. If you’re going [to commute with] Transport for London, you can tap it to gain access to transit. The Nymi band is also being showcased at Money2020 and will be provisioned for payment as well.”

The future of payments

“All of these things are platform agnostic,” Haymond explained. “They will be able to work with iOS, with Android and with Windows devices. You do the provisioning through a connected device but it’s platform agnostic which is a really interesting thing about all of these devices that we’re enabling. They have the potential to reach many, many consumers, regardless of what their preference is for which phone platform they use.

“So, what we’re trying to show is that the possibilities are infinite, they’re endless. With this technology and with the platform capabilities that we’re enabling, virtually any device can be connected to MDES and can securely receive MasterCard credentials and we can MasterCard payments-enable virtually any device.

“We believe that mobile payments will continue to be on the rise, except we’re focusing less on mobile and more on secure digital. I guess for us, we’re device agnostic. Some people will find it appropriate at some times to pay with their phone and some people may find it appropriate at different times to pay with jewellery or a keyfob or if they’re wearing a payments-enabled jacket when going for a run.

“We want developers, designers and smart minds in all different verticals to understand the possibilities here and see how easy it is to add payments as a functionality. We’ve been talking to many, many device manufacturers and designers across all different verticals and categories. Now we’ve built the foundation, we’re ready to help others build on top of it.”

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