In the best of partnerships, each member contributes strengths and expertise to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The partnership model — for example, card networks linking up with FinTechs — can bring such outsized firepower to digital innovation through cross-pollination. The networks have scale, connections to a broad ecosystem of partners and customers, and access to a host of specialized programs that can help FinTechs navigate the complex and changing needs of today’s customers.
The FinTechs, for their part, have an eye on tapping new markets and providing enhanced consumer experiences – which benefits the card networks, as they can reach new and existing customer segments in a digital way.
To that end, in a PYMNTS Masterclass with Karen Webster, Jess Turner, executive vice president at Mastercard and Douglas McGann, co-founder and president of VamosPay, said their collaboration through Mastercard's Accelerate program is bringing financial services to a traditionally underserved market across a number of new use cases, while also enabling them to go to market faster and at scale due to the operational efficiency the Accelerate program offers to its partners.
An Underserved Market
VamosPay is a prepaid card offering that is part of the startup’s alternative solution targeting the Hispanic and Latino consumer segment, said McGann. The goal of VamosPay is to provide the Latino community with a comprehensive suite of financial offerings that go beyond basic payment mechanisms, leveraging Mastercard's network, technology and infrastructure offerings. The partnership is expected to tap offerings such as Mastercard Send for cross-border payments; rePower, which offers a single connection to multiple cash reload networks; and Digital First, which delivers card products in a digital form factor.
Remember, payday comes 2 days earlier with ¡VamosPay!*
*See our website for full details pic.twitter.com/uBsZ4uD3KQ
— VamosPayCard (@VamosPayCard) January 21, 2020
“We still see a number of folks in this community who are lacking general awareness of some of the services that are available to them, as immigrants and as folks who are living in and among communities across the country,” McGann said.
“It’s about improving what can otherwise be a challenging set of circumstances if you are still standing in check-cashing lines and living in a ‘cash world,’” he told Webster. “It’s an expensive and limiting place to be.”
Turner said financial inclusion is a significant part of Mastercard’s focus, with a nod to the transformative ability of technology and data to deliver new services to a broad swath of users.
Mastercard debuted Mastercard Accelerate in October to help streamline how the company works with FinTechs as they scale their operations. Financial inclusion, Turner said, remains a joint responsibility across several stakeholders: Mastercard itself, the private sector (including FinTechs), the government and advocacy groups. And through a platform and partnership model, said McGann and Turner, the path and interactions can be simplified to have the greatest impact in the market.
As previously reported in this space, partnering with Mastercard through Accelerate offers FinTechs a “single doorway” through which they can onboard, access and integrate Mastercard tools and tech. The Accelerate solution’s offerings span programs such as Mastercard FinTech Express, Mastercard Developers and Mastercard Engage (through which Turner said the firm showcases its partners).
As McGann noted, the relationship between the two firms stretches back to late 2018. In the drive to act and behave in a socially conscious way, and to contribute to the Latino community by offering a comprehensive set of financial tools, “what we found was that Mastercard was ‘finishing our sentences’ — perhaps with the exception of one or two words, but the meaning was the same. It did not take us long to feel we were with the right partner.”
Turner added that while the linkups with FinTechs like VamosPay help the payment network grow its business, it also seeks out firms that have alignment on social responsibility. Through the partnership with VamosPay, she told Webster, Mastercard has been enhancing its offerings to serve the Latino consumer’s needs.
“This is incredibly helpful to us, because we are a B2B company working with partners … to have a bigger impact in the segment,” Turner said.
And, added McGann, “In a year’s time, we will be developing the tools that help with the family orientation of the Latino/Hispanic community, as well as drive the business ownership and entrepreneurial side of that community — these all represent extensions to what we are doing.”
As Turner said, “We prioritize our partnerships based on where we can do more together — where one plus one equals four, not just two.”