May 24, 2016 / 11:35 AM / 4 years ago

MasterCard ties up with Softbank's robot for Asia payment services

SoftBank's emotion-reading robot Pepper is seen before a photosession after a demonstration on the robot to show its compatibility with Google's Android software, at the company's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

CHICAGO (Reuters) - MasterCard Inc (MA.N) said on Tuesday it will partner with Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T) and its robot ‘Pepper’ to offer payment services in Asia, as it gradually allows customers to pay from different gadgets like fitness bands and refrigerators.

Pepper is being used as a waiter, salesman and customer service representative in about 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle (NESN.S) and Mizuho Bank.

MasterCard will launch its payment service at Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia, a unit of Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N), which will pilot Pepper in its stores by the end of 2016 and use it to take orders and provide other customer services.

MasterCard did not give details on which markets in Asia it will launch its payment services with Pepper.

The robot, which sells for approximately $1,800 in Japan, will be launched in the United States in July.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago; Editing by Kim Coghill

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