The Swiss Army Knife Of Payments Card Platforms

Today most Americans’ wallets contain a bulk of plastic, including one or more debit cards and credit cards, and sometimes even multiple options from the same issuer.

However, as technology progresses and consumers continue to demand more versatility, control and convenience from their payment tools, those within the payment industry are hard at work developing more innovative and consumer-friendly solutions for tomorrow’s wallets.

But what specific trends in consumer behavior are coming together to drive this industry shift? And now that the country is moving away from a recession and becoming more comfortable with once-new technologies like social networks and smartphones, what’s changing and what seems to be staying the same?

For these answers, spoke with Blake Rosenthal, group head, product management consumer products at MasterCard, to gain her assessment of the current market, her views of what the future will hold and her insight into how her company is staying on top – and top-of-wallet – during this transition.

According to Rosenthal, consumer demand and the need for innovative solutions have remained constant even throughout periods of economic change.

“When I think about post-recession consumers, they’re consumers that are extremely savvy about spending and saving,” Rosenthal said. “So, this means optimizing household cash flows and spending, actively managing their value and selecting payment methods more deliberately.”

Rosenthal indicated that while her company has made steps in this direction – offering PayPass for consumers who want to swipe and go as well as specially designed cards with display panels – consumer payment options will likely further change to provide greater value, safety, control and convenience in the process.

To provide one example of such a financial tool, Rosenthal spoke about her company’s combo card: a payment option introduced in 2011 that combines multiple functions, such as credit and debit onto one card, and how it plays into changing consumer sentiments.

“Combo card is being used by banks all over the world, not only to deliver a valuable customer benefit, but also a positive business outcome…” she said. “So we’ve seen some issuers who have replaced their entire debit portfolio with this new innovative card, referring to it as the ‘Swiss Army Knife solution.'”

But, while some consumers will immediately seek out this “Swiss Army” solution, she stressed the need for balance, saying that traditional debit and credit options still have their place in her company’s product portfolio as they remain as popular as ever.

To hear more Rosenthal on MasterCard’s approach to staying top-of-wallet, listen to the full podcast below.


*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.

Blake Rosenthal
Group Head, Global Product Management for Consumer Products

Blake Rosenthal is group head, Global Product Development for Consumer Products (Credit & Debit). In this role, she is responsible for leading merchant, channel, and product development efforts aligned to optimize and grow our credit and debit businesses globally, including executing on World Beyond Cash around the world.

Ms. Rosenthal joined MasterCard in 2010 as group head, Portfolio Management, Core Products and Marketing where she was responsible for ensuring that technology investments were optimized and aligned with business needs.

Before joining MasterCard, Ms. Rosenthal was a senior account executive at Visa, where she was responsible for managing and growing a large issuer account. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at Citi in a variety of leadership roles across the U.S. and international consumer banks. She began her career with Citibank as a management associate running a branch in Manhattan and progressed through various marketing, product and segmentation roles. She was responsible for the launch of their Global Executive Banking proposition as well as the development of various debit and prepaid product and processing programs around the world.

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