Mastercard launches one-stop resource site for SMEs in Asia Pacific
By Edil Corneille
Global payments technology company Mastercard has launched the Digital Acceleration for Small Businesses microsite across most of its Asia Pacific websites to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the future. Information and resources are provided on ways to digitalize and run businesses more efficiently.
As COVID-19 drives a rapid and lasting shift to e-commerce and contactless payments, the one-stop center features guides on digital transformation, e-learning courses, information about Mastercard products and services for SMEs, cybersecurity insights and tools to reduce vulnerabilities and access to discounts on business software solutions, e-commerce platforms and digital marketing services.
“SMEs have taken a particularly hard hit from the pandemic, so it’s vital for them to get the knowledge, skills and resources they need to offer an omnichannel shopping and payment experience that drives business and builds customer loyalty in the physical and digital worlds,” said Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Products & Innovation, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.
“With consumer buying habits and expectations evolving so quickly, this initiative is just one of the ways that Mastercard is fostering financial inclusion and helping small businesses to go digital across their operations to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve cashflow management – all while staying safe and protected from cyber risks and fraud.”
The Digital Acceleration for Small Businesses center is available across Mastercard’s English-language websites for Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, India and Southeast Asia. It will be rolled out selectively on non-English sites in the future.
To enhance the resources for SMEs, Mastercard has joined forces with popular website builder Wix and with Zoho, a cloud solutions provider with more than 60 million users. These partners are sponsoring online guides and articles on various topics – from creating an online store and choosing the right domain name to migrating to an online expense management and accounting platform.
The resources site in APAC is part of Mastercard’s global efforts to help SMEs “Get Paid, Get Capital and Get Digital” through new product development, partnerships and distribution channels. These include initiatives in North America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.
After reaching its goal to bring 500 million people into the financial system, Mastercard strengthened its commitment to inclusion by pledging to help 1 billion get access to the digital economy by 2025, including 50 million small businesses and 25 million women entrepreneurs.
Reflecting the huge shift to a “digital first” mindset, contactless payments via the Mastercard network were 41% of in-person transactions in the third quarter of 2020 – up from 37% in the second quarter and 30% a year earlier.
With ATM withdrawals at an all-time low, Mastercard research shows more than 70% of consumers globally plan to continue or increase online purchases and that 74% intend to keep using contactless payments after the pandemic subsides. In Asia Pacific, touch-free payments are here to stay, according to 71% of consumers in Australia, 77% in India, 73% in China and 62% in Japan.
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