On Monday, Mastercard (MA) announced that 17 smartphone models were certified to participate in its PayPass Ready program. The program, which is designed to integrate smartphone devices with near field communication capabilities, has certified these devices with hopes of a smooth transition into MA's mobile payment system. The transition would be critical for consumers because it would allow them to simply move their smartphone near or capture a payment without having to swiping their actual credit or debit card. These transactions not only add an inherited level of consumer protection but a way for customers to pay their bills in a seamless way without the hassle of a contract.
The added level of security within MasterCard's 'Ready Pass Program' gives them a competitive edge over such products as Google Wallet, which has run into user based security issues for its parent company, Google (GOOG). Until Google can work all of its kinks out, MasterCard will still carry the supremacy in this marketplace.
Coming in a close second to the supremacy of MasterCard, is long time competitor Visa (V). Visa has recently certified 8 smartphones to run its mobile payment interface called payWave, however certain issues such as distance come into play. Currently consumers can only be up to four inches away from the payWave reader and at times the reader still doesn't pick up the transaction.
MasterCard is the clear frontrunner is the battle for mobile payment processing, and stiff competition is literally nowhere in sight. If you're an investor looking to take advantage of the mobile payment processing industry, a long position in MasterCard is your best bet. The company has great fundamentals and a proven track record within the space. MA currently trades at a P/E ratio of 27.51 making it a pretty affordable play, even though the stock trades at about $427/share. As for its competitors, Visa and Google happen to be great long term plays, however betting on the near term success within the mobile payment processing space of either company is just simple pre-mature.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.