As a leading company in the global payment industry, Mastercard is constantly monitoring the market trends closely connected to the company’s activity. Thus, observing, looking into, or working together with those players that could either become issuers or part of the card payments acceptance network or improve the cardholders’ payment experience with added value services or benefits, is part of the team’s ongoing activity.

  • This article is taken from Romania's Fintech Map by Future Banking. The report is available for download here.
  • Powered by Mastercard.

From the consumer’s point of view, the rapid rise of digital services and products has driven a change in standards and expectations. People are now looking for the best financial products and services, as well as related apps available on the market, that can make everyday life easier and support their needs.

They expect convenience, accessibility, always-on access, safety and security and excellent user experience. To adhere to customer expectations, banks needed to take advantage of new technologies, such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning, to provide effective automated digital support, as well as personalized information, guidance, and support to customers.

That is why, throughout the past years, more and more companies have been looking to leverage card payments benefits, in the interest of an improved value proposition for consumers and companies alike, by expressing their intention of becoming part of the ecosystem, both as issuers and in terms of accepting card payments.

However, the setup process is frequently affected by headwinds in fundraising, as well as know-how, operating and regulatory challenges. Even so, we see more and more players integrating into the payments landscape through an increasing number of partnerships, where companies that have a product idea and a close relationship with a client portfolio (program managers) are working together with specialized cards issuing entities that aggregate and intermediate on their behalf the industry stakeholders (such as regulatory and compliance institutions or companies operating payment systems).

We have witnessed insurance claims disbursements use cases completed seamlessly and efficiently on cards, as well as financing institutions working with SMEs in the agribusiness industry, that are disbursing loans on business cards.

Apart from increasing process efficiency for the companies that initiated these projects, such initiatives also enable significant financial education and inclusion in the local market.

In the upcoming period, we expect a democratization of these partnerships, with even more companies wanting to use the benefits ensured by electronic payments, encouraged by the positive examples that the industry is already showcasing.

At the same time, market specialists are naming a series of trends that will influence the fintech sector, including increasing initiatives on behalf of issuers offering embedded solutions to companies looking to deliver a customer experience or a service proposition that also covers financial services as part of a wider package.

Fintechs are agile structures, that can operate quickly and consolidate user data into insightful consumer analysis that equals a relevant basis for efficient program and product building. For this reason, most fintechs will frequently position themselves as data organizations and consultants to different industries. Finally, as we are witnessing a general prioritizing of ESG initiatives and objectives, fintechs that will develop their mission and capabilities, accordingly, will be set on-premises to increase visibility and business.

Mastercard is committed to bringing one billion people into the digital economy by 2025, creating pathways toward increased financial security for people, communities, and businesses worldwide. One means to achieve this goal is together with FinTechs - by supporting them to launch and scale. We help FinTechs rise to the next level by connecting them to future technology partners, end-to-end solutions, and countless ways to innovate.

We've developed Mastercard Accelerate – Mastercard’s overarching fintech platform that gives start-ups and emerging brands support and assistance for every stage of their growth and transformation, from market entry to global expansion. Mastercard Accelerate includes four main programs: Fintech Express, Start Path, Engage and Developers.

Launched in June 2020 in Europe, Fintech Express is designed to facilitate emerging FinTechs’ launch and expansion, that leverages the power of partnerships and Mastercard’s expertise, technology and global network. In short, the program supports digital payment innovators by making it simple to collaborate with Mastercard and its partners to launch new fintech products.

It is aimed at fintechs looking to add payment solutions to their suite of products, tech-savvy startups looking at serving a new segment as well as established players with ambitions to innovate through partnerships. In other words, we acknowledge the interest of fintechs to join the card payments ecosystem, and we enable them to do so with the help of selected partners, that facilitate for them the access to the market and deliver on all responsibilities that come with issuing or accepting cards.

Mastercard strongly believes that innovation and relevance only become possible if payment technology, issuers, FinTechs and all parties involved in the financial ecosystem are working closely to shape a better future for cardholders, societies and people everywhere.

Photo: Dreamstime