Global payments leader Mastercard has released the third report in its ‘Get Britain Growing’ policy programme – as it hopes to boost the UK fintech landscape, and encourage firms and policymakers to address environmental concerns.
The latest paper focuses on how the UK can enable growth by supporting digital payments innovation as the foundation of the next generation of UK fintechs, in particular by creating the right ecosystem to boost fintech innovation in the ESG space and supporting the transition to net zero.
At the outset of the report, Mastercard urges policymakers to back the UK paytech sector and support innovation to enable growth by:
- Championing and adopting digital payment technologies and innovation that address exclusion, whether that’s prepaid cards, account-to-account payments or new fintech solutions that help vulnerable and excluded individuals get access to financial services and build their financial capabilities and resilience.
- Backing digital payments technology that’s helping to power micro and small businesses, by helping them to release cash flow, improve their productivity or increase their trade across borders, enabling them to grow and thrive.
- Backing digital payments technology and innovation that enables the future competitiveness of the UK’s
fintech sector and helps support consumers and small businesses in their transition to net zero.
- Adopting a bolder approach to building world-class talent – to help tackle the skills gaps and improve upskilling.
Ken Moore, chief innovation officer at Mastercard, explains: “The value of the UK’s fintech sector is clear, which leaves policymakers and industry to ask: what’s needed to ensure the UK retains its position as a global fintech hub and harnesses the technologies that will form the foundation of the next economy? The answer lies in a clear, forward-thinking national fintech strategy.”
Striving towards net zero
The importance of enabling positive climate actions and moving towards net zero in the UK cannot be understated.
Ellen Jackowski, chief sustainability officer at Mastercard, explained how it is supporting the drive towards net zero: “If the UK is committed to creating sustainable economic growth, including higher wages and better opportunities, then the transition to net zero emissions must be a central pillar of those plans; and how we support consumers and businesses with a move to sustainable consumption must be a key part of that.
“We need to equip consumers with the knowledge and data to make more informed purchasing decisions, and to understand the impacts of their purchasing decisions.
“Mastercard is also working with social-purpose fintechs like ekko, which in 2021 launched a first-of-its-kind proposition by combining fintech, marketplace, open banking and retail into one transformative app that makes it effortless to make a tangible difference on climate change, without the consumer needing to do anything different.
“Every five transactions a customer makes using the ekko debit card will pay for one plastic bottle being collected before it enters our oceans, and every 50 transactions will pay for the planting of a tree on behalf of the customer.
“Customers can track how many bottles they’ve collected and even monitor their personalised carbon footprint using their carbon meter in the ekko app. The app also gives customers access to a curated list of sustainable partners offering climate-friendly goods and services as part of the wider ‘enviroconomy’.”