Mastercard expands labs in Asia Pacific

More than five years since first launching in Singapore, Mastercard Labs has reaffirmed its commitment to being pioneers of a World Beyond Cash by opening anew Innovation Showcase, housed at its new Asia Pacific headquarters. The space will be a new home base for Mastercard to continue developing innovative digital commerce solutions that simplify and safeguard how we pay for things across banks, merchants, businesses, governments, and consumers around the world.

Located in Singapore’s DUO Towers, the Mastercard Innovation Showcase will host numerous Fintech innovations developed by various Mastercard Labs around the world, including many that were built in Singapore, and will be one of several Innovation Showcases located in major global cities– including Sydney, Dubai, New York, St. Louis and London.

The interactive innovations on display feature a range of digital payments technologies, from robotics and artificial Intelligence, unattended retail, and contactless payments technology, to wearables, biometrics authentications and solutions that further drive the brand’s commitment to financial inclusion. These include a payment solution forthe humanoid robot Pepper, which is scheduled to be rolled out later this year; Interactive chatbots; and the Qkr! with Masterpass vending machines which allow consumers to purchase items via a mobile application.

In addition to featuring key payment innovations, the Mastercard Innovation Showcase also provides a platform to drive regional Fintech growth through collaborative dialogue, connecting key stakeholders and shaping young talents, such as developer and API networking events, fintech community events and start-up boot camps, university dialogue sessions as well as lab crawls.Since moving into the space in March, the Mastercard Innovation Showcase has co-innovated with more than 500 visitors from banks, schools, leadership institutes and associations, such as Financial Women’s Association Singapore (FWA) and NTUC U Future Leaders.

Made-In-Singapore, shared with the world

Since 2012, Mastercard Labs in Singapore has served as a launch pad for numerous digital innovations and products that have travelled beyond Singapore to be applied successfully in other markets both across Asia Pacific and globally.

Examples of Made-in-Singapore innovations include the conceptualisation and execution of a digital payment platform within humanoid robot, Pepper, extending the robot’s ability to integrate customer service, information and sales into a seamless and consistent user experience; and Qkr! with Masterpass, a mobile payments platform that enables consumers to order and pay for goods and services from their smart devices via Masterpass, Mastercard’s global digital payment service. 15 percent of medium and large schools in Australia have chosen to deploy Qkr! with Masterpass as a simple way for parents to make mobile payments for school fees, uniforms, excursions and other educational supplies.

Financial inclusion is also a core focus of innovation by Mastercard Labs. Recently, the team in Singapore developed Masterpass QR, a safe and secure Quick Response (QR) mobile payments solution, ideal for small merchants in locations where POS systems and traditional card readers are not easily accessible. To date, Masterpass QR has been rolled out in India, Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan.Another keyinnovation supporting the business’s commitment to advancing financial inclusion is the Mastercard Aid Network, an award-winning end-to-end technology solution for humanitarian aid distribution, even in the absence of telecommunications infrastructure.

Tobias Puehse, vice president, Innovation Management, Digital Payments and Labs, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, “Innovation happens when ideas collide. Mastercard’s expanded Labs in Singapore underscores our commitment to work together with our partners and key stakeholders to focus on addressing the biggest friction points and real-world issues across the commerce and payment eco-system. Today,our Innovation Showcase has already become a central hub in advancing technologies such as chatbots and biometric authentication, while also inspiring up and coming developers and students to shape the future of commerce. As a leader in digital payments,we seek to drive meaningful innovation that positively impacts all Fintech stakeholders and builds a world beyond cash.”