Mastercard's augmented reality app: the new frontier?
Last week Mastercard launched its new augmented reality app, bringing experiences, everyday value and peace of mind to life
Consider the key drivers of the financial services sector's incredible, technology-led growth over the last years, and one word continues to dominate: experience.
Customer-centricity, personalisation, user experience - call it what you will, there's little doubt that the quest to provide consumers with a tailored, individual financial services experience is at the core of every company's strategy, regardless of size of market position.
Naturally, some say the fintechs, those smaller, more nimble and innovative businesses that have the luxury of jumping out of the blocks with technology at their core and the analytics capabilities for deep-diving into customer data, are doing it better. Mastercard may have just proven them wrong.
Augmented reality has come a long way since its first forays off the pages of science fiction (a 1957 invention by cinematographer Morton Heilig known as the Sensorama and capable of delivering smells, sights and sounds to its audience, in case you were interested).
Indeed, Mastercard's new industry-first app delivers a photorealistic AR experience that places customers in the middle of a virtual environment and lets them see, explore and access all the benefits of their Mastercard.
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Rewards or benefits remain a key driver of consumer satisfaction when it comes to using cards, according to the J.D Power 20018 U.S Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. However, this also found that only a third of those holding a credit card understand the benefits that could be available to them.
Mastercard intends to bring those card benefits to life. The new app uses the virtual environment to allow users to view and understand their benefits in a series of interactive portals; it is accessed through mobile devices.
Explore and engage
According to Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mastercard, the app is designed to "deliver multi-sensory experiences for consumers every day - whether they're shopping, taking transit, or exploring the card benefits they care about."
The technology's super-realistic portals or areas are presented as rooms under three categories: Experiences, Everyday Value and Peace of Mind. Naturally, they're styled accordingly - peace of mind, for example, will find users dropped into a spa setting.
“By leveraging an intuitive AR design, cardholders can now easily find and fully explore their benefits that otherwise might have been overlooked.," Rajamannar, added.
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