PYMNTS Intelligence Banner June 2024

Mastercard Adds AI and Economics to Consulting Practice


Artificial intelligence (AI) is seemingly everywhere, while the macroeconomic environment is constantly in flux.

With those things in mind, Mastercard has expanded its consulting business to include practices dealing with AI and economics, the payments giant announced Monday (Oct. 23), while also enhancing Digital Labs, its business transformation service.

“With the democratization of generative AI and a complex economic climate, companies need expertise and go-to-market solutions now more than ever,” said Raj Seshadri, Mastercard’s president of data and services. “As a complement to our advisory practices, Digital Labs serves as an incubator for businesses to explore new ideas and co-create innovative solutions with a streamlined effect on implementation.”

According to the release, Mastercard’s AI consulting practice works with businesses to adopt relevant and responsible AI strategies, with experts identifying and integrating AI tools for improved customer experiences, operational efficiency and sustainable revenue generation. 

The economics consulting practice consists of in-house experts from the Mastercard Economics Institute “who translate vast economic data into actionable insights,” the release said. 

Using advanced statistical modeling techniques, scenario planning and forecasting, and tools like Spending Pulse, the service gives executives insights for better informed decision-making. 

The announcement follows last week’s introduction of Mastercard’s new AI-powered solutions for helping banks offer “always-on” payments.

“In today’s world where the payment ecosystem is highly distributed and increasingly complex, it’s vital banks get the support they need to ensure card payments run seamlessly,” Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, said in a news release at the time.

The release noted that an increase in cybercrime, an “expanding and diversifying payments ecosystem” and an increase in regulation have combined to create greater need for improved payment resiliency.

“To help banks address these challenges, Mastercard has expanded its Payment Resiliency solutions with three new optional enhancements to its Stand-In Authorization service,” Mastercard said last week.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS looked recently at the integration of AI into finance processes and how it’s letting finance teams analyze data swiftly and take prompt action. 

In an interview with PYMNTS last month, Veena Gundavelli, founder and CEO at Emagia, explained that AI tools can easily process a range of finance documents, such as invoices, remittances, bank statements and lockbox images.

“I think all of us are seeing generative AI explode in various different forms and bring out very creative ways to perform tasks and activities while improving efficiencies,” Gundavelli said. 

Finance operations and accounting workflows offer some of the most promising applications of AI, Gundavelli added. 

“Whether it is an accounts receivable report, accounts payable report, treasury report, cash flow forecasting, or something else, there is a time lag between having a report from a financial system and being able to take action,” Gundavelli noted. “That time lag is typically spent in analysis, and many finance executives are slowed down in their decision-making because they have to spend time on analysis.” 

PYMNTS research has found that around 40% of executives say they see a pressing need to embrace generative AI, as the market for this technology is projected to surge from $40 billion to $1.3 trillion between 2022 and 2032.

For all PYMNTS AI coverage, subscribe to the daily AI Newsletter.