MasterCard Starts Mobile Provisioning for NFC

Making wireless payments using near field communications (NFC) just became a little easier for customers of Carta Worldwide, a global payment solutions provider based in London. Carta today announced that it is the first company to integrate with MasterCard’s Mobile Over-the-Air Provisioning Service, also known as MOTAPS. The service could eventually speed up NFC adoption due to ease of use for consumers and reduced costs for card issuers.

Through MOTAPS, a handset with an NFC chip can be provisioned directly from the device within seconds, according to MasterCard(s ma). That removes one barrier for consumers, who will find it easier to use their NFC-enabled phone for mobile payments. In a statement today, James Anderson, Group Head and Senior Vice President, Mobile Emerging Payments at MasterCard, pointed out the benefit:

With MOTAPS, we are happy to support MasterCard customers and partners with a key infrastructure component that simplifies the deployment of contactless programs. A secure provisioning system that is scalable and that supports all form factors, is critical for the further advancement of contactless payments.

To be sure, there are still several hurdles standing in the way of mass adoption of mobile payments from NFC handsets. Other details still being worked out include a lack of devices with NFC chips inside them as well as a set of standards for widespread mobile payments. At the moment, many groups are jockeying for position in the hot mobile payment space, which is set to grow to $633 billion worldwide by 2014.

Three carriers in the U.S., Verizon Wireless(s vz), T-Mobile, and AT&T(s t) appeared to want control over the experience and banded together to form a mobile payment group called Isis. Earlier this month, however, the Isis group realized that it needed the expertise of long-time payment processors such as MasterCard and Visa (s v), to get NFC adoption moving forward and has expanded its original venture to include more credit card companies and banks.

While there are still details to be worked out before contactless payments from phones become mainstream in the U.S., mobile provisioning should help. The simple, but important, act of tying a credit card or bank account with a phone directly through the mobile broadband connection of a handset is one less barrier to adoption. Of course, all of those credit card offers I get through the mail are likely to be sent to the inbox of my phone once NFC takes off. Maybe I’ll stick with the current payment models after all.