Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) has revealed that its digital payments platform, MasterPass, has been gaining momentum, driven by the increasing trend among consumers in using it for smaller ticket, everyday payments.

MasterCard has also seen a surge in transaction volumes, with a monthly compound average growth (CAG) rate of 38% for MasterPass transactions in Asia/Pacific for 2014. This growth is expected to continue given the number of new sign-ups during this time; MasterPass is now available to more than 40 million consumers across Asia/Pacific.

But consumers are not the only ones discarding plastic for digital – the number of merchants accepting MasterPass also grew in 2014. To date, MasterPass is currently being offered by nearly 250,000 merchants around the world.

MasterPass expands steadily across Asia Pacific

Australia was the first market in the world to go ‘live’ with MasterPass in February 2013, and several other Asia/Pacific markets followed in 2014, including New Zealand, China, Singapore and most recently Taiwan – bringing greater convenience and simplifying commerce for both consumers and merchants.

“This upward trend is encouraging and proves that MasterPass is a solution that addresses the needs of today’s consumers – the savvy online shopper who wants speed and ease but values security at the same time,’ said Raj Dhamodharan, MasterCard’s Group Head of Emerging Payments in Asia/Pacific.

According to MasterCard’s Online Shopping Survey, 86.7% of consumers in Asia Pacific have made at least an online purchase in the past 3 months, and security of payment facility remains the biggest consideration for them (84.9%).

“Our success in rolling out MasterPass in this region can be attributed to the strategy we employed – of putting issuers first. The decision to focus on key bank partners to drive the adoption of MasterPass made the take up that much greater, as banks are often a valued partner for consumers,” added Dhamodharan.

From big ticket items to box office seats and a cup of joe

The tides are turning and digital wallets are slowly but surely gaining traction in everyday payments. Gone are the days when consumers only used electronic payments for big ticket items; e-commerce is now moving into smaller payments such as movie tickets and quick service restaurants.

Based on MasterCard’s data on e-commerce transactions in Asia Pacific in 2014, seven of the top 10 most frequented purchase categories had average purchases sizes which were smaller than US$60. (In 2013, just three of the top 10 fell into a similar classification). These purchase categories included telecommunication bills, utilities and online music stores, with the average purchase size at US$48.

With the shift in trend for e-commerce, digital wallets are an important part of ensuring that consumers are well-served for those everyday payments.

In Singapore, merchants are seeking new ways to make online and mobile payments simpler, quicker and more convenient for the growing segment of shoppers who are taking their shopping online. For instance, Shaw Theatres and SISTIC were some of the first few to partner with MasterCard to make MasterPass available to their customers who buy movie, event and concert tickets online. But it isn’t just limited to tickets, as consumers in Singapore also have the option of paying for flight tickets, clothes, beauty products and even food, with MasterPass.

According to MasterCard’s 2014 Online and Mobile shopping survey, more than one third of consumers in Asia Pacific are familiar with or have used in-app shopping.With more consumers making purchase on-the-go on their mobile phones it is inevitable that they would store payment card information with numerous app providers in order to make purchases. And MasterPass’s latest in-app capabilities cuts down on the risk and inconvenience of sharing personal card payment information on different mobile apps.

In the second quarter of this year, consumers in Australia will be amongst the first in the region to be able to pay for their daily morning coffee fix with MasterPass directly within a Starbucks mobile app. MasterPass in-app payments, which is an extension of the capabilities of browser-based MasterPass digital service into the mobile app environment, was launched in February this year to enable consumers to make purchases within a mobile app without having to re-enter payment card details multiple times. (Original Source)

Shares of Mastercard closed yesterday at $94.17 . MA has a 1-year high of $94.50 and a 1-year low of $69.64. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $92.14 and its 200-day moving average is $88.14.

On the ratings front, Mastercard has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on June 1, Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Keane reiterated a Buy rating on MA, with a price target of $100, which implies an upside of 6.2% from current levels. Separately, on May 19, Pacific Crest’s Josh Beck upgraded the stock to Buy and has a price target of $110.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Bryan Keane and Josh Beck have a total average return of 13.2% and 7.3% respectively. Keane has a success rate of 74.1% and is ranked #427 out of 3621 analysts, while Beck has a success rate of 73.7% and is ranked #1361.

The street is mostly Bullish on MA stock. Out of 7 analysts who cover the stock, 6 suggest a Buy rating and one recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $98.67, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels.