Global credit card underwriter and payment processing giant – Mastercard – announced Tuesday that it’s expanding its payments-focused consulting service by adding four new service areas for its customers including: Open Banking; Open Data; Environment, Social & Governance (ESG); as well as Crypto & Digital Currencies.
Many individuals might not know that for more than 20 years, Mastercard has offered a consultancy service that provided guidance and expertise on all aspects of payment processing ranging from data governance, integrating various payment types, to sales tax reporting and much more. The consultancy business resides within Mastercard’s Data & Services division, which the company says employs more than 2,000 engineers, consultants, and data scientists in 70 countries worldwide. The announcement states that the Data & Services group plans to hire 500 new graduates and experts to staff up this expansion.
“Payments are just the beginning,” says Raj Seshadri, president of Data & Services, Mastercard. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked with our customers across banking, fintech, retail, travel and other sectors, helping them understand and navigate every challenge and opportunity thrown their way. This evolution of consulting is in recognition of the changing world and of our changing business. It’s about helping customers navigate today’s challenges and anticipating what’s next.”
A large segment of Mastercard’s consulting efforts centers around banks, lending institutions, and retail merchants. According to the company, those customer groups are interested in a range of digital currency capabilities that cover everything from: basic blockchain education; risk assessments; crypto and NFT strategy development; crypto cards; designing crypto loyalty programs and more.
Mastercard’s announcement states that it has curated partnerships with digitally native firms that offer best-of-breed solutions in cryptocurrencies so it already has access to experts in the space as it builds out its internal team. Mastercard also cited success helping financial technology companies – also known as “fintechs” – expand into new markets, as well as work through go-to-market planning, and commercialization strategies – as proof points of its crypto experience.
Not only does it consult private companies and publicly traded corporations, it also assists and advises government banks and agencies. Specifically, Mastercard stated that it’s helping central banks explore the design and deployment of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). As part of this work, the government banks are using Mastercard’s testing platform, allowing them to research various scenarios before rollout. The company did not mention any specific governments that it’s directly consulting regarding CBDC development and deployment.