Mastercard Digital First Programme
AI Asia Australasia Banks Fintech Paytech

Mastercard Strengthens Digital Payment Capabilities Across the Asia Pacific

Mastercard is strengthening its global Digital First programme across the Asia Pacific, alongside a range of innovative partners, to deliver even more seamless and secure digital payment options than consumers expect as they continue to shop and bank online more than ever before.

Mastercard’s Digital First programme maximises the safety, security, and convenience of e-commerce, online banking, and contactless transactions by providing the guidelines for payment processors, fintechs, issuing banks, and other partners to create end-to-end digital payment options at scale.

Backed by the speed and security of Mastercard’s global network – including the Mastercard Processing platform to enable instant issuance – the Digital First programme offers consumers the ease of applying online, rapid access to begin making purchases, flexibility, and peace of mind while shopping. It gives consumers the choice of making payments with digital cards or directly from bank accounts by using smartphones, smartwatches, or any other digital device. It also provides innovative new ways to receive payments including Mastercard’s QR on Card, which places a QR code on a consumer’s payment card to allow senders to scan and transfer funds securely and easily to their account of choice.

With consumers making a rapid and lasting shift to a “digital by default” mindset, Mastercard’s research shows that 30% of people in Australia, 49% in India, 55% in China, and 34% in Japan plan to make more purchases online. A large majority – 71% in Australia, 77% in India, 73% in China, and 62% in Japan – believe the shift to contactless payments is here to stay.

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 usage to management.

“Mastercard has been leading the drive into inclusive digital commerce for many years by delivering frictionless and secure payment experiences for the billions of people shopping and managing their finances at their fingertips around the clock and around the world,” said Sandeep Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Products & Innovation, Asia Pacific, Mastercard.

“Combined with the strengths of Mastercard’s partners, the Digital First programme offers the convenience of fast, transparent payments and maximises consumer choice with everything from digital cards in e-wallets, to QR on Card, to the Pay by Account solution that lets people make payments from a bank account using their financial service provider’s app. For merchants, the benefits include access to a wider consumer base and faster availability of funds.”

In the Asia Pacific, Mastercard’s Digital First products are becoming the standard in many markets with customers including HSBC, Mox by Standard Chartered and WeLab Bank in Hong Kong SAR, Singapore’s GrabPay, Atlantis in Singapore and India, RBL Bank, Yes Bank, and BOB Financial Solutions Limited (BFSL), also in India, VIB in Vietnam, Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co. Ltd and Credit Saison in Japan, as well as a number of financial institutions in Australia such as Bankwest and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Mastercard and BFSL have recently announced that they will jointly offer Mastercard’s QR on Card service for small and micro-merchants in India, enabling these businesses to accept cashless payments. This service, the first-of-its-kind in the world, empowers merchants to spend and earn on the same card, making it easier for them to receive digital payments flexibly and quickly while making deliveries or serving customers in-store.

The strengthening of Mastercard’s Digital First programme in the region mirrors its expansion in North America to deliver unique value for cardholders and account holders with the best-in-class banking and payments experience in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy.

For the Digital First programme in the Asia Pacific, Mastercard offers the benefits of its own Mastercard Processing platform and partners with payment processors and fintechs including Euronet Worldwide, Tutuka, HPS, Global Processing Services (GPS), and Episode Six, along with digital platform providers such as Thales, Verestro (uPaid), Nuclei and Infosys.

Together with these partners, Mastercard’s Digital First programme focuses on:

  • Online application: Enables people to apply online and receive card information almost immediately upon issuer approval.
  • Near-instant issuance: Gives cardholders access to their card information almost immediately so that they may begin making purchases online, within apps, and in stores through digital wallet offerings. An optional physical card is also available.
  • Quick access to details: Credentials can be accessed swiftly and securely via the digital environment, eliminating the need for names and numbers to be displayed on the physical card.
  • Simple and easy management: Allows people to manage their payment credentials digitally, including access to transaction history and balance information, alerts, and card benefits.
  • Choice of payment and receiving instrument: Offers consumers the option of both paying and receiving funds with a bank account or a card, enabling them to transact anywhere and anytime, while leveraging Mastercard’s global acceptance.
  • Safety and security: The Digital First programme provides the highest standards of security to ensure consumers continue to be protected for all online and offline transactions.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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