Middle East & Africa Paytech Trending

Mastercard Launches Digital First Program to Help Consumers Find Preferred Digital Payment Method

Mastercard has offered its Digital First program that delivers a secure experience, with the help of its partners, to provide a variety of seamless payment options to its digitally connected consumers who seek immediacy and convenience.

Backed by the speed and security of Mastercard’s global network – including the Mastercard Processing platform to enable instant issuance – the Digital First program allows consumers to apply online, receive instant digital card issuance, real-time card management and secure online payments.

Mastercard’s’ Digital First program gives consumers a whole host of options in making payments – from e-commerce to contactless to QR, using any digital device of their choice. It also enables consumers to have control to manage their finances, interact with card benefits and offers, as well as enhanced security for peace of mind.

With consumers making a rapid and lasting shift to a ‘digital by default’ mindset, Mastercard’s research shows that 73 per cent of consumers in the Middle East and Africa are shopping more online since the onset of the pandemic, while 66 per cent have started to bank online. Another Mastercard study indicated that nine in 10 consumers in the MEA region are considering using at least one emerging digital payment method such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, QR code or digital wallets.

With this greater demand for digital experiences, Mastercard is enabling its customers to innovate faster by providing a network of partners that support each step of the consumer digital journey – from acquisition and card usage to management and engagement, with a physical card option. Building a robust network of qualified enablers is helping customers quickly launch digital products from the ground up.

“Digital First is all about providing choice and convenience across the digital payment landscape. This region is embracing the digital revolution to realise its true digital potential and that is exciting news for the whole ecosystem, from consumers and small businesses to financial institutions and governments. Mastercard is looking forward to growing the digital economy through our partnerships and continuous innovation in the Middle East and Africa,” said Gaurang Shah, head of products EEMEA, Mastercard.

For the Digital First program across EEMEA, Mastercard network includes a cohesive list of Digital First partners. These technology and fintech partners have the expertise to simplify the process of bringing best-in-class capabilities into the issuer environment. Mastercard customers in EEMEA, can leverage the excellent global partnerships with end-to-end Digital First enablers, such as Thales, Network International and Verestro, along with regional partners with stellar reputations, such as FOO, Ukeshe, and Paymentology.

Together with Mastercard, these players work with issuing banks to ensure the foundational requirements of the Digital First Card Program are met, which has been built to deliver an optimal and secure consumer experience by focusing on the following key areas:

The expansion of Mastercard’s Digital First Card Program signals an industry-wide shift to providing consumers with end-to-end payments options at scale. By enabling processors with the technology and go-to-market strategy, more and more cardholders can experience the benefits of the Digital First Card Program.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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