Mastercard and Microsoft have partnered to enable financial inclusion, accelerate innovation in digital and e-commerce, and support start-ups.
Mastercard Labs – the organisation’s R&D arm – will use Microsoft Azure and artificial intelligence solutions to drive its own cloud research, which Microsoft says will “advance Mastercard Labs’ mission to de-risk and commercialise emerging technologies and platforms for digital commerce”.
“Mastercard’s commitment to innovation and financial inclusion has accelerated digital commerce for individuals and businesses around the world,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business. “We look forward to building on our strong relationship and accelerating co-innovation to help connect and power a digital economy for everyone, everywhere.”
The partnership will also help Mastercard’s partners to build and securely scale new solutions, such as devices that enable digital payments in new ways.
Mastercard’s Start Path programme has helped over 230 fintechs access financial services, and the company’s collaboration with Microsoft aims to expand on this, “helping diversify and build new businesses, and create and scale new cloud-first digital products and services”, according to Microsoft.
“We are thrilled to deepen our longstanding relationship with Microsoft by advancing the research, development and scaling of new technologies and business models,” said Ken Moore, head of Mastercard Labs. “This strategic collaboration will strengthen and extend our cloud services and capabilities for clients and fintech partners, sparking innovation and creativity for the ecosystem. It will enable us to explore opportunities focused on new client segments, technologies and trends as we continue to drive financial inclusion and build the future of commerce.”
The companies will also collaborate to help underserved communities, for example by providing routes to financial security and access to critical services. Microsoft says that “the Azure cloud will serve as the native infrastructure for Mastercard Labs’ inclusion efforts and support Mastercard Community Pass — a platform that pulls together complex ecosystems and provides underserved communities with access to essential services, such as education, agriculture marketplaces and basic healthcare”.
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