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MasterCard Boosts SME Payments With Artificial Intelligence

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MasterCard is launching a new initiative to link its small business clients with data analytics capabilities and is enlisting the help of IBM Watson Analytics to do so.

According to an announcement made Thursday (March 17), MasterCard is integrating the IBM data analytics solution into its platform, combining it with its own MasterCard Advisors Local Market Intelligence solution, and introducing a way to link SMEs to artificial intelligence within its payments services.

MasterCard collects transaction data through the Local Market Intelligence solution, reports said; in a statement, MasterCard Advisors Senior Vice President Eric Schneider said the integration with IBM will be a way for small businesses to harness that data.

“There is an increasing wealth of data today that merchants can leverage to better understand their market and consumers,” Schneider explained. “However, smaller merchants often don’t have the resources to maximize the insights. That’s the value of this platform, turning Big Data into smarter data that is easily accessible and actionable.”

Merchants that accept MasterCard will have access to the solution sometime in the middle of this year; the data analytics will target towards small business performance and customer insight to help them make decisions about their operations.

“We are thrilled to be working hand in hand with MasterCard to help smaller merchants understand their business and competition better and increase the strength and value of their customer relationships,” stated IBM ASEAN Financial Services Sector Leader Yashesh Kampani. “Through this new service, merchants will discover just how easy leveraging Big Data can actually be with the analytical tools that IBM and MasterCard are making available.”

It is unclear whether the solution will be available only to SMEs across the ASEAN region, but in its announcement, MasterCard cited recently conducted research that found that 70 percent of SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region expect their operations to expand — and their business costs to rise — this year.

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