MasterCard is a technology company in the global payments industry connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments, digital partners, businesses and organizations to enable electronic payment solutions (credit, debit, prepaid, commercial) instead of cash and checks. The most well-known payment brands are Mastercard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®. The global payments network of MasterCard can authorize, clear and settle payment transactions and offers automated clearing house (ACH) transactions (both batch and real-time account-based). Using these capabilities, the company offers payment-related products and services such as cyber and intelligence solutions to provide insights in consumer and merchant data. The company was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Purchase, New York.
According to the World Bank, financial inclusion is a key enabler to reduce poverty and boost prosperity. However, close to one-third of adults live without access to mainstream financial tools and services. Mastercard operates one the largest global payments networks in the world and between 2015-2020, brought 500 million financially excluded individuals into the digital economy through 350 innovative programs across 80 countries. For example, the company launched the Mastercard Farmer Network, a platform that digitizes marketplaces, payments and financial histories within the agriculture sector and connects approximately 500,000 farmers in East Africa and India. In 2020, Mastercard announced a new ambitious target and committed to the aggregated financial inclusion of 1 billion people by 2025. The Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion plays a key role in achieving this target through partnerships with governments, NGOs and the private sector.