Consumers and merchants alike have been looking for ways to make the payment and loyalty programme elements of shopping more convenient and seamless. While online redemption of offers is commonplace for consumers, the industry is just starting to deliver the same functionality at point-of-sale checkout via a mobile app. With the introduction of a new technical specification, MasterCard is taking steps to deliver a unified, seamless check-out experience both in-store and in-app. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

The Loyalty middleware specification enables mobile applications to offer a seamless connection between payment, promotions and loyalty redemption. It enables consumers to select their loyalty card, the coupons/promotions they want to redeem, and make a payment in a single or double tap at a contactless terminal.

"We've all been there, fumbling with a loyalty fob, coupon and payment card. We've worked closely with various industry partners to develop and implement one standard approach to enable a seamless experience in redeeming loyalty points or promotions when making mobile payments at the point of sale," said James Anderson, executive vice president, Digital Payments, MasterCard.

"Having one standard will make it easier and less costly for merchants, wallet issuers, terminal providers and others in the industry to implement these programmes and focus on other elements of the customer experience."

MasterCard has been working with a number of industry partners to develop and validate this standard, which is designed to work with different loyalty schemes, different point of sale terminals and systems, and different payment methods.

At CARTES SECURE CONNECTIONS in Paris, France, MasterCard showcased an implementation of loyalty and promotion redemption using Ingenico Group's MarketPlace. Demos were also shown with Spire Payments and PAX devices. Additional industry partners participating in this effort include eThor, Newland and Panasonic.

Jacques Guérin, Smart terminals EVP, Ingenico Group, commented: "Ingenico Group is pleased to extend its cooperation with MasterCard to leverage Telium TETRA HTML5 capabilities and offer convenient loyalty solutions to merchants."

MasterCard plans to expand its industry engagements in the coming months and establish further collaboration with these and new industry partners.