MasterCard at European Business Summit 2015: A focus on innovation will drive inclusive economic growth for Europe

Written by Ann Cairns, President of MasterCard, International Markets

mastercard logo_

President of MasterCard, International markets (MasterCard)

Mrs Ann Cairns is President of MasterCard, International markets (MasterCard)

This year’s European Business Summit’s entitled “Europe 4.0 – Delivering a vision for the future of Europe” falls on the same day as the general elections in the UK which could prove crucial for the future of both, the UK and Europe. At a time when the European identity has never been more blurred to its citizens, Europe seems indeed, as the title suggest, to be in need of a vision. A slow economy that has struggled to get back on its feet across the continent and economic hardship in many European countries have called into questioned the added value that Europe brings.

So, this is not just about a vision. It is also about getting the economy back on track and laying the foundations for a competitive and innovative environment. I believe by building an environment that will deliver on its economic promise, Europe can regain the confidence and trust of most of its people.

At the same time, there are still sectors that are doing well by being both competitive and innovative. In an era, where the way we live our lives and interact with each other is profoundly influenced by new technologies, consumers also adapt their expectations and demand businesses solutions that are compatible with their new lifestyles.

The payments industry in Europe for instance has been remarkably resilient despite the regulatory uncertainty over the past years and through its constant focus on better and safer payment solutions, it has also been extremely innovative. Whether it is in-App payments that no longer require the consumer to leave their mobile app to complete a payment or new biometric authentication methods, which may replace the oh-so-easily-forgotten password, innovation is very much alive and competition fierce. For me, these are the two key ingredients to ensure success.

I truly believe that electronic payments are one of the key drivers to economic growth. Innovative payment solutions have the power to ensure that small businesses get paid on time, that no payment gets lost, that governments can introduce efficient tax collection systems and thereby reduce the costs of fraud or tax evasion – money saved that can be re-injected into the economy. The retail industry faces such competition every day and is very much aware of the need to innovate and rethink their old business models. Omnichannel is the buzzword in the industry. Make sure that it is as easy to shop in your physical store as on your online platform. A study MasterCard commissioned with InnoValue, and published today, actually found out that if a retailer focuses on only one sales channel or does not integrate its offline and online offering they risk disconnecting with their customers and can actually lose revenue in an environment where a competing retailer is just a click away.

But electronic payments are also a key driver for inclusive growth. And the role that innovation in the sector can play to increase financial inclusion among the un- or under-banked is phenomenal. This is hugely important from a societal point of view. Financial inclusion matters because without it, large swaths of people are left behind. Around the world over 2 billion people do not have a bank account and millions more do not use their bank accounts regularly. That is not far off half the world’s adult population. Financial inclusion is not just a developing market issue. Here in Western Europe, around 100 million people are un- or under-banked. Of the 2 billion who are financially excluded, nearly 40% are young people. Nearly 50% are women. Half are urban. Half have jobs. In many ways, these are people just like us. They are mothers, fathers, refugees, students, and farmers. They are left without the things we take for granted –a way to save money for a rainy day, to get loans, or to insure themselves.

In the future with the Internet of Things, where every device will be connected to the Internet, what kind of life will those who are financially excluded have? We’ll have the Internet of Everything but not the Inclusion of Everyone. We cannot talk about financial inclusion without talking about cash. Think about having to pay a bill in cash and standing in line for hours – when you get paid by the hour. And you cannot pay that bill over the phone or online. Think about having the social benefits you just got in cash stolen as you make your way home. Or worse by relatives at home. Yet, 85% of the world’s retail transactions are still done in cash and so we need to move beyond it if we want that inclusive growth. This is also why MasterCard has recently made a commitment to reach 500 million people previously excluded from financial services by 2020.

Innovative payment solutions can address these challenges and many more. They can speed-up checkout lines if one no longer has to fumble for change. Contactless payments can make getting on a train or tube a much more seamless experience and reduce waiting lines substantially. Through the use of smart (payment) data, they can even contribute to a more sustainable urban development. Consumers’ enthusiasm for these new payment methods – in the last quarter of 2014 contactless transactions in Europe grew 174% year on year – is testimony to the fact that innovation is alive and well here in Europe.

For all of us to participate in building an innovative and inclusive Europe that is future ready we must work together, drive the technology that will keep us at the leading edge of the global economy and do so in a way that no one gets left behind.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Cameron’s Conservatives and UKIP are exploiting and cultivating anti-EU immigration sentiment but Labour party isn’t?

Why and How: Advocating for the inclusion of Palliative Care in Universal Health Care

Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar from accusations of genocide, at top UN court

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Climate-proofing Timor-Leste

Financial abuse of elderly ‘rampant, but invisible’, says UN expert

Charlotte in Ghana

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

The Recruitment of Children as Soldiers Explained

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

UN Children’s Fund chief condemns ‘horrific’ Kabul bomb attack

4 key steps to support cross-border payments and digital trade growth

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

Medical Studies During COVID-19: How the Pandemic Affects this Generation of Doctors-to-be

5 reasons why biodiversity matters – to human health, the economy and your wellbeing

Companies that put employees first perform better

The 4 types of leader who will thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Climate Change Revolution: by-laws for the world

Is there a drug for every disease?

Mobile Technology Saving Lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

The final countdown towards achieving 2030 Agenda

It’s 100 years since US women got the right to vote, but how has gender equality changed?

Here’s how China is going green

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

Road safety: Data show improvements in 2018 but further concrete and swift actions are needed

Application of EU Law in 2020: Protecting our agreed rules and shared values during a pandemic

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa: Rise of the Digital Citizen, Kigali 16 – 18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

European Commission steps up protection of European intellectual property in global markets

Commission reports on progress in risk reduction in the Banking Union and calls for faster progress on Capital Markets Union ahead of EU Leaders’ meetings

From sun-powered trikes to mind-controlled TV – 10 top gadgets unveiled at CES 2020

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

UN Climate Action Summit concludes with insufficient EU and global pledges

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

The future of suicide and depression prevention

Study finds sharks are ‘functionally extinct’ in 20% of reefs observed

The rise of alternative medical practices in modern sports

These are the skills young people will need for the green jobs of the future

Understanding and demystifying the new outbreak of Coronavirus

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Do you dare to go to China?

Libya ‘in race against time’, but dissolving conflict ‘a realistic prospect’, Security Council hears

These are the world’s 10 most innovative economies

State aid: Commission approves €300 million public support for the development of ultrafast broadband network in Greece

Immigrant integration policies have improved but challenges remain

COVID-19: MEPs call for measures to close the digital gap in education

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

Indonesia is buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. And others in ASEAN aren’t far behind

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health

Advanced economies still have plenty of work to do to reach Sustainable Development Goals

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

Why practicing medicine privately at home is still a (difficult) option?

Gender gap in medicine: from when, why and until when?

It’s time for the circular economy to go global – and you can help

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s