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Mastercard Fintech Innovations During the Pandemic

The past 18 months have been challenging for many different reasons, not least because of a global pandemic, which has turned the way we live, the way we work and the way we connect with each other upside down.

However, despite these challenges, the payments industry has really pulled together to find new and innovative ways to adapt to the change while ensuring continuity of payments for those who needed it most.

Edoardo Volta, Head of Fintech, Mastercard UK and Ireland

Edoardo Volta, Head of Fintech, Mastercard UK and Ireland, is amazed at the level of innovation and execution that the industry has been able to deliver together, and shares just a few of the many achievements Mastercard has helped realise over this time. 

Samsung Pay+ powered by Curve

Building on our existing relationships with Samsung and Curve, last year we collaborated to bring Samsung Pay+ to the UK. This innovative digital-first solution offers consumers convenience, flexibility and choice over how to pay, all underpinned by the trusted safety and security they expect from Mastercard.

The all-new digital payment solution offers Samsung customers greater flexibility and control when managing their finances by offering a single view of spend, whilst also enabling a simple and secure way to pay. With the ability to sync multiple bank cards in one place, Samsung Pay+ offers Samsung customers a true digital wallet experience, all through the convenience of their mobile device.

Starling Connected Card

The Starling Bank Connected card was developed in answer to the pandemic, delivering contact-free, cashless payments for those helping the self-isolating to purchase essential items. These can be applied for by the critically vulnerable and those self-isolating to give to volunteers to pay for their shopping, in a safe and secure way.

The solution was selected by the Royal Voluntary Service to be used as an alternative to cash and given to NHS Volunteer Responders to pay for the shopping of an individual who is isolating.

NHS Volunteer Responders were set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. An “army” of 600,000 volunteers stepped up to support vulnerable people in England who were isolating from the virus. These volunteers are matched via the GoodSAM app with members of their community who need support to stay well at home. 

Monzo Premium Card 

We were thrilled to work with Monzo and, following the Monzo Business launch in March 2020 year, to partner with them to bring Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium to life, now offering a diversified offering for both business and consumers alike. 

Apart from all Monzo Plus features including Account Aggregation, Monzo Premium offers a comprehensive Insurance package and offers competitive interest rates on deposits, in addition to discounted lounge access. 

Despite the challenging environment, we were proud to partner with Monzo on taking yet another step to diversify their product portfolio and contribute to their overarching mantra to Make Money Work for Everyone

Currensea SME Card 

We worked with Currensea to launch a first-of-its-kind open banking debit card for small businesses. The Currensea Direct Debit card allows SMEs and Freelancers to make international transactions directly from their existing bank account, without any foreign exchange charges, and with low fees competitive with the leading challenger banks.

We’ve been working closely with Currensea over recent years and enabled them to become the world’s first Card-Based Payment Instrument Issuer (CBPII). Our solutions integrate across Currensea’s B2C and B2B offerings, resulting in protection on all payments via the Currensea debit card through Mastercard’s chargeback protection, and acceptance at millions of locations worldwide.

Currensea is committed to helping its customers offset the carbon footprint associated with travel when using the card abroad. As part of their giving back initiative, Currensea provides a simple and easy way for users to give back to environmental organisations. Cardholders can opt in to plant trees or recover ocean-bound plastic every time they spend. 

We’re incredibly excited about the potential for this card and look forward to continuing to develop innovative solutions with the team in the years to come.

Jersey Spend Local Card with PFS

Alongside PFS (a company of EML) we partnered with the Government of Jersey to develop the World’s first card-based stimulus scheme. Last September all eligible citizens in Jersey were sent a £100 PFS and Mastercard powered Spend Local Card to use in businesses across the island. The initiative formed part of the government’s overall £150 million fiscal stimulus package to help alleviate the economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

This innovative solution offered a real alternative to stimulus packages delivered through local tax or benefits systems, giving greater precision for the spending of the funds. Authorities can target where, when and exactly how much can be spent, and as in the case of the Government of Jersey, focus all of the benefit on the Island’s community.


Marking World Environmental Day, HELPFUL in partnership launched a fee-free debit Mastercard that puts the Planet First and appeals to a new breed of conscious consumer who want their purchases to reflect their values, principles and lifestyles. 

With over 150 sustainable brands on board, the partnership establishes one of the UK’s largest sustainable retail directories. Consumers who shop with brands from the directory will receive a reward of up to 10% cashback. 

HELPFUL has also joined the Mastercard Priceless Planet Coalition, offering environmentally-conscious consumers an easy way to help the planet as they go about their daily lives. By using the HELPFUL app, users can see the positive impact they are having on the environment from the trees planted in return for their shopping choices.


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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