Mastercard eyes LGU tieups for deeper financial inclusion
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Global financial services firm Mastercard Inc. plans to forge partnerships with local city governments for the introduction of payment solutions that seek to promote better urban mobility and improve financial inclusion in the country.

In an interview, Miguel Gamiño, executive vice president and head of Global Cities at Mastercard, said the company is in talks with local government units and the national government to convince them to be part of Mastercard’s City Possible project.

The project is Mastercard’s public-private partnership model, which aims to bring together cities across the globe, providing a platform where they can exchange ideas and co-create solutions to address urban challenges, such as mobility and financial inclusion.

“There’s a lot of interest on our part to be a contributor to the progress of the country and the cities, mostly for the purpose of helping accomplish quality of life improvements for people in these cities,” Gamiño said.

“Manila, in particular, is on a trajectory. It’s a city that keeps coming up in conversations in other parts of the world. So I hope we would be to contribute to that, to help the city of Manila, the country accelerate that progress and help ensure that progress reaches everybody,” he said.

According to Gamiño, the City Possible project focuses on three elements, namely transit and mobility, identity and financial inclusion and data insights.

The first element, he said, involves the creation of payment solutions in the transportation sector, and the introduction of new innovations to improve mobility and help residents get around the city better.

He said the second area is about the improvement of government-issued identification (ID) cards to make them more functional, by integrating payment and non-payment capabilities into a single card.

“And then the third element is the value of data insights to help city governments make better policy decisions, or at least understand the economic impact of their policy decisions, their investments, and even things that they can’t control like the weather,” Gamiño added.

According to the New York-based executive, Mastercard is currently prioritizing Asia and encouraging as many cities in this region to be part of the City Possible community. The community currently has 30 participants all over the world.

He said the Philippines, in particular, presents a lot of opportunities in terms of the adoption of cashless open loop payment systems, which he said provides convenience for users as it allows them to use one card for various purposes at lower cost.

“I think it’s got a lot of potential (in the Philippines). I think we have to help demonstrate the value proposition. Part of that being better user experiences, safety, reducing the cost of service delivery by, in this case, the transport operator,” he said.

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