Payment giant MasterCard (NYSE:MA) has entered the shipping arena. The company just announced a new program it's calling "Free Shipping by MasterCard" -- but there are a lot of conditions.

MasterCard customers can get complimentary two-day shipping under the free-subscription model if:

  • They pay with a MasterCard (OK, this point is obvious).
  • They purchase items from partnered companies, a short list that presently includes Macy's, Kohl's, Wal-Mart, QVC, and Best Buy.
  • They make their purchases through MasterCard's portal site.
  • They pay for the two-day shipping up front (they're reimbursed up to $20 per order by MasterCard later).

For a $69 year-long subscription, the retailer pool expands to 30 more participants.

Motley Fool analyst Jason Moser observes that MasterCard is trying to play the trend of free shipping, which has become a feature many consumers expect thanks in part to Amazon.com's Prime membership. But Jason's skeptical of MasterCard's free-shipping program, given how convoluted the process is, especially in comparison to the seamless experience Amazon provides.

Erin Kennedy has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Moser owns shares of Amazon.com. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, MasterCard, and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.