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Mastercard (MA) to Accelerate Digitization in Asia Pacific SMEs

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Zacks Equity Research
·4 min read
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Mastercard Incorporated MA recently introduced the Digital Acceleration for Small Businesses center in a bid to accelerate digital transformation for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across Asia Pacific.

While the center has been launched across the company’s English-language websites for Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, India and Southeast Asia, the same will be introduced on specific non-English sites in the days ahead.

Through the newly launched resource site, Asia Pacific SMEs can avail rebates on business software solutions, e-commerce platforms and digital marketing services. SMEs will not only benefit from knowledge regarding Mastercard’s solutions but also have access to cyber security insights and tools for reducing their exposure to cyber risks and fraud. All these benefits offered through this one-stop center is likely to speed up business digitization of SMEs, which in turn, will reduce costs, bolster efficiency and enhance cashflow management.

Notably, Mastercard has left no stone unturned to help SMEs globally, which haven’t been able to escape the brunt of the pandemic-induced financial uncertainties. It has to be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift from physical mode to digital in the payments industry. This trend is likely to sustain even beyond the pandemic. As a result, the company has made several investments to roll out cost-effective solutions for assisting small businesses adopt digital means faster.

Case in point, the company has collaborated with Wix, which is a leading website builder and Zoho, a cloud solutions provider, in a bid to boost resources for SMEs. Also, Mastercard unveiled SME in a Box service last year across the Middle East & Africa region, which offers an aggregate of diverse financial services through a single app. The company’s latest launch of Digital Acceleration for Small Businesses center is also testament to its efforts of assisting SMEs through “Get Paid, Get Capital and Get Digital.”

It has to be noted that most SMEs, which used to rely on age-old payment methods via physical or bank channels prior to the pandemic, ramped up the adoption of digital payment methods consequent to the coronavirus outbreak. With Asia Pacific SMEs being no exception to the abovementioned trend, SMEs trend to go digital can possibly add $2.6 trillion to $3.1 trillion by 2024 to the GDP of the region according to a recent study by International Data Corporation. The same study has stated that not only around 70% of Asia Pacific SMEs have resorted to faster digitization attributable to the pandemic but also 86% of them believe that going digital will somewhat shield them against future contingencies.

Shares of Mastercard have gained 3.6% in the past six months compared with the industry’s growth of 1.4%. Notably, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Furthermore, online transactions have been witnessing a surge while ATM withdrawals have been declining since the coronavirus outbreak. The evolving consumer behaviour is a clear-cut indication of people preferring contactless payments in a bid to curb virus spread, which has compelled SMEs to adopt digital means. Per a Mastercard research, while over 70% of worldwide consumers intend to continue or enhance online purchases, 74% of them plan to continue using contactless payments after the pandemic fades. As a result, the company has been partnering with several organizations for offering hassle-free payment experiences to several parts of the world and thereby capitalize on the current prospects in the global digital payments space.

Other companies making efforts to help small businesses include Visa Inc. V, which has been catering to the unique needs of small businesses through the Visa Small Business Hub launched last year. While American Express Company AXP came out with back-to-business offers for small business card members, Global Payments Inc. GPN has been working closely with numerous small businesses by rolling out enhanced and secured payments technology solutions.

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