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Mastercard Expands Start Path Program to Boost Payment Acceptance


Mastercard has welcomed six startups to its Start Path program focused on improving payment acceptance.

“The ability to accept electronic payments has been critical to shaping the future of commerce and spurring the secular shift to digital — unlocking new use cases and enhancing expectations for speed, simplicity and safety,” the company said in a news release provided to PYMNTS Thursday (May 2).

“Mastercard is at the center of this digitization, bringing forth new ways to pay while fortifying trust across all payment forms and flows.”

The inaugural Start Path Acceptance group is made up of late-stage startups working on initiatives such as creating low-cost solutions for small businesses and allowing for non-traditional channel acceptance.

The program will offer these companies mentoring and chances to collaborate, as well as access to Mastercard’s network of banks, merchants and digital players. 

Among the companies involved are Cardstream, a British firm that “accelerates FinTech enablement through innovation and collaboration with partners, providing Payment Gateway and PayFac-as-a-Service platforms.”

There are two American companies in the mix: cloud-based payments orchestration firm Gr4vy and card optimization platform Hooxpay. Also included is Singapore’s Tazapay, a collection and payments platform focused on cross-border commerce

“Years within the payments industry inspired us to launch a FinTech company fueled by a desire to disrupt and innovate legacy platforms and make a real change,” Oz Azaria, CEO of Hooxpay, said in the news release. “Our vision for acceptance revolves around innovation, traceability, inclusivity and trust.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Start Path’s launch, the release notes, with the program supporting more than 400 firms who have since gone on to raise more than $15 billion.

Earlier this week, Mastercard held its quarterly earnings call, with CEO Michael Miebach noting that the trend toward digital payments is proceeding along. He added that “our fast and secure contactless technology has been instrumental in displacing cash. Contactless now represents more than 2 of every 3 in-person switched purchase transactions.”

Tap on Phone, he said, has gone live in more than 100 markets, and tokenization is creating a “flywheel effect” as “lower fraud, higher approval rates and a better consumer experience bring more transactions and volume to the Mastercard network.”

Tokenized transactions rose 50% year over year, the CEO added, noting that roughly a quarter of transactions on the Mastercard network are now tokenized.