How Mastercard is Creating an Inclusive Landscape Through Opportunities in the Digital Economy

In today’s interconnected world, access to the digital economy is increasingly vital for economic prosperity and social mobility—it determines a person’s ability to thrive in the modern world. However, consumers and small businesses struggle to access and use technology to grow their reach in the market. For individuals from underrepresented groups, that access has been limited or entirely unavailable for generations, but Mastercard (No. 1 on Fair360’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) is changing that.

Mastercard has recognized these challenges and has taken steps to bridge the digital divide. Through innovative touchpoints, strategic partnerships and inclusive frameworks, the company is helping underserved communities unlock their economic potential and create a more inclusive digital economy.

“Ensuring that more views and more backgrounds are included so we have the full picture and avoid the natural blind spots makes good business sense,” said Michael Miebach, Mastercard’s CEO. “That’s what the work we do each day is about — to ensure that everyone has an opportunity, that everyone has a reason to believe that they belong and they are welcome. When we bring in new perspectives, companies like Mastercard can be our best selves and our best business all at once.”

Empowering its Employee Base

By enabling an inclusive environment, Mastercard aims to unlock the full potential of its employees, customers, partners and communities in the more than 210 countries and territories in which they operate.

Mastercard’s inclusive frameworks extend beyond its business practices and societal impact all the way to its workforce. The company’s core values of “Creating Value, Growing Together and Moving Fast” are underpinned by the principle of “Doing the Right Thing,” and its employees stand by this culture in their daily operations.

Mastercard’s global community of 30,000 employees are unified around their purpose to apply their technology and innovations to create a world where everyone, everywhere has equivalent access to opportunity.

Addressing the Challenges of Access

Underserved communities’ foremost challenge is limited access to vital networks and financial services. Research indicates that proximity to these networks significantly impacts a person’s ability to be productive and prosper.

Mastercard acknowledges the systemic exclusion of marginalized groups and is committed to driving inclusive growth to address this issue. The company’s global financial inclusion commitments include bringing one billion unbanked people into the digital economy by 2025, empowering 25 million female entrepreneurs and supporting 50 million small businesses globally.

Opportunities for Underserved Communities

Recognizing the need to address structural barriers to inequality, the company made a $500 million commitment to close the racial wealth and opportunity gap in the U.S. through its In Solidarity initiative. It comprises concrete actions across three pillars: People, Market and Society.

The company invests directly in Black and minority-led startups, increasing procurement with Black-owned businesses. For instance, the “Strivers” program, in partnership with Jennifer Hudson, supports Black women-owned businesses through grants and educational road shows.

Mastercard also collaborates with MoCaFi Bank to deliver digital services to close the racial wealth gap and advance financial inclusion for Black Americans.

“We’ve made progress, but there’s a lot more to do. Everything from creating an environment where all employees feel they belong and have clear pathways to growth, to connecting more Black people to equal opportunities and greater prosperity,” said Randall Tucker, Executive Vice President and Chief Inclusion Officer at Mastercard. “What gives me hope is seeing the commitment of Mastercard and my colleagues behind the scenes who are driving meaningful work and helping to move the needle toward greater equity and inclusion.”

To ensure inclusivity for other communities, Mastercard has introduced initiatives like the “True Name” feature, allowing cardholders to use their true first name without requiring a legal name change.

READ MORE: Mastercard’s 2022 ESG Report

Inclusive Growth and Data for Social Impact

Mastercard focuses on building an inclusive and sustainable digital economy around data and accountability.

The Inclusive Growth Score produced by Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth provides insights into social and economic indicators at the neighborhood level, allowing policymakers, community leaders and impact investors to prioritize inclusive economic development initiatives.

“Every sector, and every company, can play a vital role in leveraging knowledge and information for social impact,” said Shamina Singh, Founder & President of the Center for Inclusive Growth at Mastercard. “If private-sector companies like ours that incentivize a race to the top and value a ‘culture of decency’ can join together with public- and social-sector organizations, not only can we respond with speed and scale, but we can rebuild our economies for the benefit of everyone.”

Mastercard’s commitment to data-driven equity is exemplified by initiatives like Data for Equity, a 10-week program in partnership with the Centre for Public Impact that brought together equity, technology and data officers from around the country to learn new ways to use the power of data to advance economic inclusion.

Being a Force for Good

Mastercard aims to be a force for good, fostering relationships built on decency and inclusivity. By leveraging the expertise of its diverse workforce, technology, data insights and partnerships, Mastercard delivers impactful initiatives that drive inclusion at scale.

Mastercard knows that people thrive when they feel they belong, their ideas are valued and they are treated fairly, and inclusion drives more meaningful connections, more equitable societies, and contributes to business success. That’s why this is an ongoing journey that Mastercard remains committed to every day.