MasterCard hires former Orange VP of Mobile Payments

NFC veteran implies MasterCard will ramp up its efforts

Mastercard (Harrison, NY, USA) has poached Mung-Ki Woo, the former head of mobile and contactless payments at Orange (Arcueil, France), one of Europe’s largest operators. Woo will head up MasterCard’s mobile payment and m-commerce business, a recently formed unit.

The move strongly suggests MasterCards plans to increase its mobile payments efforts, a currently wide open market with many potential competitors looming. Not the least of which being Visa, who hired Bill Gajda, former chief commercial officer of the GSM Association, for a similar position.

Woo worked at Orange since 2005 and during that time hosted some of the very first trials of near field communication (NFC) technology. He directed plans for a French NFC rollout beginning this year, and also managed the rollout of Orange Money, a mobile funds-transfer and banking service.

Thus far, MasterCard has failed to generate excitement for mobile payment or other forms of m-commerce. For contactless payment, the company has relied mainly on passive stickers, a technological placeholder as it waits for true NFC devices.

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