At Mobile World Congress, MasterCard announced the acquisition of C-Sam. C-Sam’s current customers include Isis and Starhub, a carrier in Singapore. C-Sam will provide an “operating system” for MasterPass, a white label wallet platform that can be marketed to retail banks, mobile operators, and payment providers globally. Mobile wallets are becoming increasingly important to merchants. Last year in the U.S., almost $60 billion was spent by consumers using their mobile devices.
Additionally, according to the 2013 Lexis-Nexis Merchant Study of 1,139 US merchants, 19% of merchants’ total revenue was derived from the mobile channel. The C-Sam platform includes SDKs, and supports NFC, bar codes, and cloud-based transactions, and includes banking, loyalty, in-app and other offers. C-Sam provides an in-store and online back-end and front end platform for MasterCard to build upon. PayPal bought Braintree; Visa bought Fundamo; now MasterCard buys C-Sam. Smart acquisitions of proven players are quite often the best way for payment networks to “innovate from without.”