RIL’s proposed New Umbrella Entity or NUE for payments services, comprising of Infibeam Avenue, Google and Facebook, aims to become a global payments player, said an Economic Times report. The consortium intends to offer payment services in the overseas market will pit it against Visa and Mastercard. RIL will own 40 % of the NUE So Hum Bharat, while the rest of the three players will own around 20 % each.
Airtel Africa said that Mastercard will invest ₹733 cr in its wholly-owned subsidiary Airtel Mobile Commerce BV to own a minority stake in the subsidiary. Media reports said that Mastercard will have around 3.75 % stake in the firm which is, at present, the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations. The transaction will help to reduce Group’s debt, invest in network and sales infrastructure.
Visa has announced that it will accept cryptocurrency USD Coin on its payment network. The value of the USD Coin or USDC is pegged directly to the U.S. dollar. The financial firm has launched a pilot program with Crypto.com, a payment and crypto platform. Visa plans to add more partners to the services later this year. The move has come at a time when BNY Mellon, BlackRock and Mastercard are embracing digital coins.
Mastercard is planning to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network in 2021. It is worth noting that Mastercard offers cards that allow users to transact using cryptocurrencies, although without going through its network. This has come after Elon Musk’s Tesla said that it had purchased $1.5 bn of bitcoin and would soon accept it as payment. BlackRock, Square and PayPal have also recently backed cryptocurrencies.
Signzy, an AI startup, has raised Rs 40 cr led by Arkam Ventures and Mastercard. Signzy’s existing investors, Kalaari Capital and Stellaris Venture Partners also participated in the round. Signzy provides digital KYC solutions to over 100 BFSI firms including Aditya Birla Sunlife AMC, BoB, SBI, ICICI Bank and Mastercard. “We plan to strengthen our AI research and global sales to tap into the increased demand of digital product and services”, said co-founder Ankit Ratan.
Mastercard partnered with Signzy, a RegTech startup, to enable the latter’s video-based KYC (Know Your Customer) solutions for its banking customers. This will allow Mastercard to provide a completely paperless, remote and secure onboarding solution for end-users. In India, this launch will further Mastercard’s goal of driving inclusive growth via financial inclusion by enabling individuals and small businesses to go online.
As central banks try to decide whether they can launch digital versions of their currencies, Mastercard is creating a platform to help them virtually test how digital currencies could be developed and used. The platform enables the simulation of issuance, distribution, and exchange of central bank digital currencies between banks, financial service providers and consumers. Central banks are in the early stages of looking at the potential of digital currencies.
Mastercard has invested in digital HR tools to ease virtual hiring and joining of the candidates. HR is using Artificial Intelligence to screen candidates, experienced ML algorithms for employee progress reports, and data analytics for performance review, feedback, training. HR and CIO together are enabling HR functioning with digital tools. ‘Live Well’, a cloud platform is ensuring employee wellbeing, both mental and physical, by providing the right information.