Mastercard Rolls Out Slate of New Mobile Payments Initiatives and Beyond

October 25, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

If a company isn’t releasing new products or services, then its momentum becomes questionable. Stay questionable long enough and people begin to realize there’s no momentum to speak of. Mastercard is proving its momentum still in play with a slate of new initiatives, as recently tipped off to us about work from its Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

One of the biggest new releases is the Inclusive Growth Toolkit, a set of tools designed to help show how likely an area is to produce “inclusive growth” in areas known as “qualified opportunity zones,” or QOZs. The toolkit includes not only an analytics consultancy service that offers customized insights to community leaders about policy designed to induce inclusive growth, but also the Inclusive Growth Score system, which provides an online map to view various measures of inclusive growth along with a PDF scorecard of any particular region.

Mastercard also stepped into some new partnerships. A newly-minted agreement with the Rockefeller Foundation and Benefits Data Trust offers $7.5 million in grants designed to improve “…health and economic mobility for at least five million low-income people in the United States by streamlining access to food, healthcare, housing and other essential benefits.” 

Finally, Mastercard’s previous partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is picking up as well. This expanded partnership will provide further grant support and new commitments to advancing several causes.

It would be easy to wonder where the mobile payments payoff in something like this is, but it’s actually a great plan to help build markets where there were none—or only nascent ones—previously. By improving access to “essential benefits,” it improves a community’s overall viability, which in turn makes it a draw for businesses. After all, who’s opening up a tchotchke shop in Death Valley? No one, that’s who, and why would they? Their chances of return are spectacularly low. Take a place where things are booming, however, and you find plenty of people willing to invest. 

By starting in at a grassroots level, Mastercard helps improve the odds that new communities, and new businesses, will emerge for it to offer services to.  The boost to community goodwill and name recognition certainly doesn’t hurt either, and Mastercard makes itself a winner with these advances.