With proven record as a robust network in global electronic payments technology, the sky is the lower limit for MasterCard as they take lead on matters cashless transactions.
Much of the world’s population does not have access to a bank account or any other reliable way to store and access their money. As such, they are reliant on hard cash and all the perils that come with handling it. Financial inclusion though comes with the idea that everyone deserves the tools to participate in a growing economy. Whether that means a mobile payment system or a secure ID card, financial inclusion becomes critical in empowering individuals across the globe.
Marked as one of the leading global payments technology firm, Mastercard has remained true to the philosophy of inclusion and empowering people towards a cashless world. As the Vice President and Area Business Head at MasterCard, Chris Bwakira explains, MasterCard has been able to build custom-made innovative tools both globally and locally.
He says, “With massive presence of MasterCard in many countries, we have been able to provide solutions that are built to better the lives of people and businesses and in essence add value to the economy.”
He adds that the quality of their partnerships demonstrated in markets such as Rwanda in partnership with the government to digitize payments in health care, education and pensions is just but an example of how determined they are to propel cashless systems.
In Kenya, MasterCard has partnered with merchant aggregator Kopo Kopo reaching numerous markets in Africa. “This partnership enables us to serve not only people in urban areas but communities in rural areas as well, and has given us the opportunity to widely roll-out Masterpass QR to merchants,” states Bwakira.
Equally, the team has gathered vast experience over the years on digital payments and seen first-hand how going digital can transform the way people transact and do business on a daily basis. “It is amazing just how quick business people can make transactions with a simple card. The final facet in our strategic operations now is capitalizing our ability to localize global services; a world where merchants can carry out transactions wherever they are in the world,” says Bwakira.
As part of its commitment to creating a world beyond cash through more connected and inclusive payment ecosystems, MasterCard focuses on delivering real solutions that make a noticeable and immediate impact.
Masterpass QR – the organisation’s mobile-driven, Person-to-Merchant (P2M) payment solution – has certainly lived up to that ideal. The system continues to gain impetus across Africa both in terms of allowing millions of micro, small and medium enterprises to accept quick and secure payments and in allowing customers to make simple and safe payments via mobile app.
First launched in 2016, the solution has since been rolled out to a number of markets across Africa. Most notably have been Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana with various partners. One key strategic partnership in Africa making great strides is with Ecobank; an agreement that will ultimately result in Masterpass QR being rolled-out in 33 countries across Africa. These efforts form a core part of Mastercard’s strategy to develop more efficient payment systems that empower business owners and consumers.
Bwakira says, “Business owners, particularly of MSMEs benefit from using Masterpass QR. They no longer have to worry about the historic challenges of acceptance of electronic payments or the exorbitant cost of installing payment infrastructure like point-of-sale devices. By driving acceptance for merchants, Masterpass QR facilitates operational efficiencies for MSMEs, which are the backbone of emerging market economies.”
MasterCard strives to deliver efficient, cost effective and above all secure solution for merchants across Africa. This is an essential step to providing the level of support required to grow and develop businesses.
With cybercrime on the rise, MasterCard is alert to the reality of criminals stealing information from merchants to commit financial fraud. With the companies’ deep rooted history of investing in and innovating across multiple layers of technology – like EMV, tokenisation, physical and behavioral biometrics and artificial intelligence – businesses and merchants can rest assured that their cash is safe.
“Securing the digital payment ecosystem is a big focus for us at Mastercard, and our aim is to deploy solutions that will keep consumers feeling safe, adding to the existing prevention, detection and identity tools already in place,” pinpoints Bwakira.
Mastercard’s latest initiative in the digital security space is a predictive tool to combat card fraud after data breaches – it is aimed at reducing the cost of fraud and protecting at-risk cardholders.
Buoying Mastercard’s commitment to customer safety is the dedication to constant innovation at the company. Early this year, the company launched a digital platform dubbed 2Kuze that connects smallholder farmers with agents, buyers and banks in East Africa.
2Kuze, a Swahili word which means ‘let’s grow together’ enables farmers to make and receive payments for agricultural goods via their feature phones; a move that brings the benefit and security of mobile commerce and payments to farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Developed at the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in 2015, 2Kuze was set up to develop practical, cost-effective financial tools that expand access and build stable futures for over 100 million people globally. Through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lab is working with East African entrepreneurs, governments and other stakeholders to develop local products rooted in the company’s global know-how.
“We believe that by using mobile, a technology that is universal among farmers in Africa, we can improve financial access, bring in operational efficiency and facilitate faster payments. We created 2Kuze in our Lab in close collaboration with farmers, representatives from the government, farmer-led cooperatives and buying organisations,” says Bwakira.
“We are committed to developing market-relevant payment solutions that enhance the adoption of cashless transactions by building solid partnerships.”
Central to the ethos of Mastercard is connecting with local communities in a meaningful manner to help support them. Through its very own slogan ‘a world beyond cash’, Mastercard is advancing social sustainability by giving people around the world greater access to the financial system.
“We believe that how we do business is as important as what we achieve. We care about the communities in which we live, work and conduct business,” concludes Bwakira.