MasterCard And Microsoft’s Micro Merchant Innovation

For financial inclusion efforts to be effective, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga said last week at Mobile World Congress that it will involve private and public partnerships.

Last week (March 5), MasterCard took that commitment one step further through its partnership with Microsoft that aims to promote technical innovation in Mexico by addressing matters of financial inclusion, specifically with micro merchants. The partnership aims to work with the micro merchant segment in the region to help gain access to electronic payments. The partnership will tap into the financial network skills of Microsoft, but with the technology of Microsoft to create opportunities for merchants to have better access to content that can help develop businesses.

But by adding more ways to spur financial inclusion for MSMES in Mexico, MasterCard and Microsoft hope to have a hand in developing Mexico’s economy through projects that incorporate technology, communications and payments.

“Micro merchants are a very important segment in Mexico, representing 99.8 percent of the companies in our country. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to provide them with innovative technological tools that allow them to be more productive and competitive and grow in the national economy,” Antonio Junco, President of MasterCard Mexico and Central America, said in a company news release. “Our partnership with Microsoft strengthens the strategy we launched to include micro merchants in the financial sector and to encourage them to accept different payment channels in their business plan. Microsoft is an important partner and player in the segment and we feel really pleased to cement this partnership.”

The partnership is said to be aimed at three goals: integrating financial products and technical solutions; working with the public sector to help design, build and implement projects; and integrating platforms to offers payments options that can work through Microsoft’s platform. By combining the expertise of two major private companies with assistance from the government, the partnership can attempt to address how to offer innovative solutions to entrepreneurs. MasterCard will work with Microsoft to implement its technology through devices that can act as POS terminals.

Overall, the partnership hopes to help smaller merchants keep up with the technological advances that might otherwise make it difficult to compete in a growing cross-border economy where larger corporations are taking more of the economic share.

“Micro merchants must operate in a challenging and highly competitive environment. Not only do they have to face other domestic companies and businesses, but they must also compete with companies from different parts of the world. They require, therefore, to be positioned in the forefront to offer their final user all the advantages and channels given by big competitors,” said Juan Alberto González Esparza, director general of Microsoft Mexico. “This partnership will provide them with solutions to give that next step, not only in terms of competitiveness but also in issues that have to do with relationships with their customers and end users. Together, Microsoft and MasterCard will make the tools available so that micro merchants can work with better management practices, tools that drive their productivity, and access to platforms they could not access before.”