How Mastercard And The Red Cross Are Taking On Natural Disaster Payments

When Mastercard launched Send in 2015, the focus was on making it easy to move money quickly between businesses and people using the debit card as the proxy. Send doesn’t just work with Mastercard branded cards, either, Jess Turner, executive vice president of digital payments at Mastercard, told PYMNTS in a recent conversation. It works between any debit cards.

Turner said they have been expanded the use cases to include those for which the speed of funds to the recipient is most critical — in a disaster situation.

Leveraging Mastercard Send, she noted, has allowed its partners at the American Red Cross and in the insurance industry to push payments directly to consumers quickly and reliably when those disasters strike.

When Immediacy Really Counts

When something bad happens — a big storm hits for example — everything about that situation is already highly stressful. The goal for the Red Cross, she noted, is to reduce the anxiety levels of the people it is working with. That is a lot easier to do when they can be offered a direct, reliable and secure conduit to funds that they need immediately for items crucial for survival: food, clothing and temporary shelter.

“This partnership started during the big storms of last year,” Turner said. “What we saw and what we learned from the Red Cross is that the need for an easy and efficient way for customers to request funds and access them in real time is critical — just as critical is having access to that capability 24/7/365.”

Mastercard’s partnership with insurance firms follows a similar logic. Allstate been a particularly vocal partner in pushing the service for consumers, because immediacy of funds is what consumers need most when there is an emergency.

Meeting The Consumer Where They Are

People are more comfortable than ever with the idea of money being pushed to a debit card, and so are the institutions that want to use them. Over time, consumers will come to expect this way of receiving money, particularly when they are dealing with a disaster or an emergency.

Turner said, “I think someday you will see these instant push payments as an option for everyone — but we are not quite there yet right now.”



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.