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Mastercard Fintech Express supports digital payment innovators by making it simple to collaborate with Mastercard and its partners to launch new fintech products. Picture: SUPPLIED/MASTERCARD
Mastercard Fintech Express supports digital payment innovators by making it simple to collaborate with Mastercard and its partners to launch new fintech products. Picture: SUPPLIED/MASTERCARD

Mastercard launched Fintech Express in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), a programme designed to facilitate emerging fintechs’ launch and expansion. Leveraging the power of partnerships and Mastercard’s expertise, technology and global network, start-ups will now be able to focus on innovation that drives the digital economy.

Mastercard Fintech Express is designed for all types of fintechs: established fintechs wanting a direct licence from Mastercard and those wanting to innovate through collaborating with ready-to-go Mastercard Engage partners.

The programme is divided into three core modules:

  • Access: enabling regulated entities to obtain a Mastercard licence and access Mastercard’s network through a streamlined onboarding process;
  • Build: fintechs as processors/enablers can become an Express partner by building tech alliances and benefiting from all the advantages that Mastercard provides;
  • Connect: fintechs/start-ups looking to add payment solutions to their suite of products can easily connect with qualified Express partners on the Mastercard Engage web portal, and go live in a matter of days.

The programme supports digital payment innovators by making it simple to collaborate with Mastercard and its partners to launch new fintech products. It’s designed for fintechs looking to add payment solutions to their suite of products, tech-savvy start-ups looking at serving a new segment, as well as established players with ambitions to innovate through partnerships.

Becoming an Express partner helps brands simplify the launch of payment solutions, shortening the process from months to days and enjoy all the benefits of becoming a qualified Engage partner.

“Start-ups are forming exciting and diverse new collaborations with traditional financial institutions, thereby enhancing competitiveness while bringing a host of new services and products to market. Mastercard is playing a central role in making these fintech partnerships a reality as their technology provider of choice,” says Gaurang Shah, senior vice-president, Digital Payments & Labs, MEA, Mastercard.

“Technological advancement and innovation are steering the digital financial services industry as fintech players are becoming globally mainstream and more of these players are competing with large traditional players. We are taking the next step in empowering them to fulfil their ambitions of scale and speed.”

In Africa, fintech start-up funding is one of the most active business investments and Nigeria, SA and Kenya represent the lion’s share. The SA Reserve Bank, for example, established a fintech unit to monitor the impact of new technology developments on the traditional banking sector. 

Some of the early players to have joined forces and created alliances under the new Express partner programme in SA include Ukheshe and Nedbank. 

“Partnering with Mastercard has enabled us to rapidly access and integrate Mastercard’s digital product offerings into our end-customer solutions. This, coupled with Mastercard’s reach, has seen our business increase on a global scale,” says Clayton Hayward, Ukheshe CEO.

“Payments are a critical part of everybody’s life and enabling customers to perform any transaction seamlessly across multiple channels is a winning formula. Partnerships between banks and fintech firms are critical to delivering this, and at Nedbank we not only believe in these partnerships but in the very essence of shared business models to extend our delivery capability,” says Chipo Mushwana, Nedbank executive of emerging payments.

“Our partnership with Ukheshe has allowed us to respond to a specific set of customer needs, driving cost synergy to fast-track competitiveness, and advancing revenue synergy to accelerate new opportunities. The Mastercard Accelerate platform also provides an access point for us to engage with start-ups that are competent and meet the compliance requirements to work with financial institutions.” 

Other players across MEA include Network International, Diamond Trust Bank, DPO Group, Selcom and Tutuka.

Mastercard Fintech Express falls under the Mastercard Accelerate umbrella — Mastercard’s overarching fintech platform that gives start-ups and emerging brands support and assistance for every stage of their growth and transformation, from market entry to global expansion.

Mastercard Accelerate comprises four main programmes: Fintech Express, Start Path, Engage and Developers.

This article was paid for by Mastercard.

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