Mastercard Inc. has made some big news in recent months, but you wouldn’t know all of it from the company’s conference call early Thursday to discuss its fourth-quarter 2022 and full-year results. Mastercard celebrated recently concluded major deals that make the global payments company the exclusive provider of debit branding for Citizens Bank and the engine behind a new Pay by Bank program for JPMorgan Chase & Co.
But neither equity analysts on the call nor the company’s top executives mentioned two big news events that broke recently and could have a far-reaching impact: the decision by a group of big banks to create a mobile wallet through the payments-technology platform Early Warning Services, and the decision in December by the Federal Trade Commission to issue a consent order against Mastercard to correct what the Commission sees as a roadblock the company had erected against routing online debit transactions to competing networks.
The Pay by Bank feature with Chase, announced in November and expected to launch commercially later this year, relies on open-banking technology to allow consumers to pay bills via the automated clearing house network directly from a Chase account, but without having to type in data like routing and account numbers. “It’s enhancing ACH,” said Mastercard chief executive Michael Miebach during the call.
“Our multi-rail strategy positions us well to play in either field,” Miebach added, referring to both cards and ACH. With Pay by Bank, Mastercard has “options to go after new use cases” beyond cards, he told the analysts. At the same time, Mastercard is also making efforts to develop in-car payments for such expenses as tolls and gasoline, he said.