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Mastercard helps unlock innovation and growth with emerging technologies and partnerships in the global payment landscape

The evolution of payment technology has made paying bills and making purchases faster, easier, and more secure. Digital payments are estimated to grow by 15% annually to become a $3 trillion industry in 2026, according to McKinsey, as consumers increasingly seek out seamless, digital-first payment experiences embedded into the financial ecosystems they already use. 

But it’s no simple task delivering what consumers want. As more companies outside of traditional finance turn their attention to payments as a way to drive engagement and loyalty, the principal challenge is building new experiences that feature a range of personalized and contextualized services within the platforms to consumers. That’s why it’s more important than ever for companies to tap into the solutions of a technology leader like Mastercard, who is continuously building new capabilities and expanding expertise across sectors and borders.

“If you look at the trends in digital payments across the world, it’s very obvious that consumers are demanding more embedded personalized experiences,” says Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partners & Enablers, EEMEA, Mastercard. “With our innovative payment technologies, we are enabling organizations to provide those experiences to their customers through their platforms.”

By approaching their partners thoughtfully and intentionally to create digital-first platforms and services in sync with evolving demands, Mastercard is setting the gold standard for how companies can leverage new technologies to better engage and connect with their customers.

Loyalty is the lynchpin 

To understand what’s driving the biggest innovations in payment tech, it’s important to start by understanding the significant ways that customer loyalty has evolved. 

“Loyalty is becoming a hyper-personalized, contextualized environment that allows companies to leverage data powered by new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Megwa says. “That enables a tailor-made approach to incentivize customers what they need, when they need it, through the channel and choice they prefer.”

Creating such a loyalty platform is only possible with data, which is why it’s become a critical element for any payment tech partnership. The more data that a company can responsibly leverage, the more accurately it will be able to anticipate customers’ needs and behavior, which in turn leads to more personalized experiences. And when consumers get that experience they crave, they’re more likely to engage across multiple channels as they get exposed to more use cases and experiences, which in turn generates richer data for the ecosystem. 

That’s the virtuous cycle at play: Through a strategic use of data, Mastercard is driving loyalty by helping companies better meet the needs of their customers.

A successful partnership must know its market

It’s also worth considering how different parts of the global digital payments industry call for different partnership & engagement models. In regions such as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, payment tech partnerships are essential for building platform solutions that serve unbanked consumers and merchants.

In the African telecom industry, for instance, Megwa says Mastercard’s partnerships have been an effective way to offer a better payments experience to millions of consumers on mobile money and digital wallet platforms where they’re already active and engaged.

“The telecom operators sit on a lot of data about their consumers but could benefit from a more holistic view of their end-consumers across multiple channels and broader use cases,” she explains. “With Mastercard’s payments data and loyalty engine on their side, it enables a telecom operator to have a full, 360-degree view of their consumer that allows for greater personalization.”

As a result, telecom companies benefit from their partner’s expertise and solutions to improve their customer experience. Through Mastercard’s partnerships with telcos, for example, millions of its customers are able to make online payments to a global network of merchants or even finance high-end smartphones for customers through a pay-on-demand platformWith fintech emerging as Africa’s most vibrant sector, coupled with the growth potential for super-apps in the regions, it’s clear these types of solutions will play a crucial role. In fact, they already are. Millions of EEMEA merchants and consumers benefit every day from Mastercard’s initiatives with forward-thinking fintech businesses such as Turkcell, Papara, MTN, Kashat, EziPay, Sokin, and OPay — proof that collaboration can unlock a new wave of financial inclusion.


Preparing for the future of payments

The digital payments industry is rapidly changing, so companies must look for a partner that will continuously innovate. Simply keeping up is not enough in such a competitive environment. A successful payment tech partnership needs to push toward the future.

“The payments industry is evolving very fast. Consumers want to make digital payments, but they also want to have access to loans, they want to be able to save money, they want to be able to send money digitally,” Megwa says. “It’s important for us to remain at the forefront of all those experiences, which is why we also seek out fintech companies to co-create and deliver globally scalable technology and infrastructure.”

Looking ahead, Megwa predicts that micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) will be significant drivers of digital payment innovation, particularly in EEMEA, as they seek solutions that will help them grow amid an increasingly online marketplace. 

As its partners across multiple industry sectors seek to digitize and build next-gen enterprise-technology platforms such as API marketplaces and cloud-based operating models, they introduce new types of systemic and third-party risk into their business models.  At Mastercard, its cybersecurity platforms, powered by real time data analytics play a key role in protecting trust across multiple consumer interactions. This empowers Mastercard’s partners to manage risks better whilst also enabling them to build cybersecurity into their value chains, which in turn enables disruption rather than hindering it.

Whatever the size of a company, the same rules apply for building a successful collaboration. As fintech solutions push the payments industry to even greater heights, it’s essential to find a partner that can enable digital transformation through innovation.

Find out more about Mastercard’s partnerships.