Mastercard: Digital payments empower disadvantaged communities

We are delighted to announce that we are joined at 4YFN this year by Eimear Creaven. Eimear is the President of Western Europe at Mastercard.

Here Eimear tells us about the many ways innovation can manifest itself through partnerships.

What are you talking about at the conference?

It is a very exciting moment for startups, Fintechs and everyone who operates in the technology space. I believe innovation is key to how any business large or small wins today or tomorrow. At 4YFN I will be talking about the many ways innovation can manifest itself. It can be driven by partnerships between emerging companies and established tech- companies such as Mastercard, which is uniquely positioned as a network and platform that can deliver both knowledge and connections which can propel Fintech businesses through increasingly ambitious growth paths. Mastercard engages with late stage startups to help them connect with our broad ecosystem to add value as they grow and scale while also finding connection points for us to work with them and partner. So partnerships are relevant to respond to the changes and trends that are driving our business today but also to enable us to work with the best new talent to keep us future ready.

Building strong alliances can also positively impact the growth of the ecosystem enabling innovation to help move more quickly as we enhance the user experience drive trust, scale and simplicity and enrich the competitive landscape. The market opportunity for ambitious digital banking businesses and Fintechs is clear and Mastercard is focused on building the meaningful partnerships that help them seize the opportunity.

What are you passionate about?

That is such a broad question but let me put it in the context of today’s subject of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. For me the opportunity to work with new and emerging innovators keeps me connected to the incredible passion there is for driving products and solutions that add value to a business but also add value to society. At Mastercard we are focused on doing well by doing good, so look at how we can foster a culture of shared values and purpose is something I am sure all of us can feel passionate about.

Besides that, I am passionate about changing consumer habits, connecting people and being inspired.

What is the future of your field?

Innovative technologies impact almost every aspect of our daily lives, from the way we communicate and manage our health to the way we pay for things. The rise of digital payments and the convergence of these technologies is the most significant development since the introduction of payment cards half a century ago. As the world becomes more digital how you pay becomes a critical consideration in the experience of going from to do, to done. Ensuring we are building solutions that are safe, simple and smart and work across any of your devices, from wearables to any of the number of IOT devices that are powering our home will help us ensure that any connected device can be a payment device but that it is done in a way that builds and protects the relationship with you and your money.

Why is it so important?

Digital payments offer broader benefits than cash. They enhance the consumer user experience making daily transactions fast, easy and secure, helping consumers to better control their expenses and offering them more security with the fraud prevention perk, and eliminating any type of friction when paying as well.

Retailers can have a more transparent relation with their clients, providers and employees. Digital payments enable faster commercial response which drives and boost sales and allow retailers to be part of the online and digital ecosystem. Merchants can get richer and more frequent insights from their sales performance allowing them to understand their consumers’ needs and behaviours.
For government these payments provide efficiencies, cost savings and are helping them on the fight against fraud, shadow economy, money laundering and corruption.
Finally, digital payments empower disadvantaged communities providing them financial inclusion to develop and activate their economy

What are your favourite sayings (they can be your own)? Words to live by?

In a world moving digital at speed, I am a true believe in the power of partnership so for all the Fintechs out there, Mastercard wants to be their partner of choice and help them seize the day.
One of my favourite quotes: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever” – Steve Jobs.

What does the world look like in 50-100 years?

50-100 years feels almost impossible to predict given the incredible speed of change we are witnessing thanks to the power of innovation.

Like most of us, I am excited by the changes we are going to see that improve our lives in the near term. The impact of sustainable and responsible technology and also the way that technology can be used to drive the inclusion of those who are currently marginalized.

I also look to business and thee technology sector to ensure we continue to drive progress in building balanced and equal societies and the critical role that women have to play in this. Ensuring that we see more women leading technology companies, building the tech means we have to help girls understand that tech is cool. At Mastercard we do that in many ways including our global Girls4Tech programme, which is looking to reach 200,000 girls by the end of the year. That’s impact and progress and will ensure the next generation of technologist looks the same as the world does, which is a balance of men and women.


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