Mastercard leveraging big data analytics for business in a post-Covid world

In an exclusive interaction, Rajesh Chopra, Senior VP & Head - Data and Services Centre(s) of Excellence, Mastercard, reveals that his company is working closely with various banks, governments and businesses by making insight-driven tools available to them, to give a timely snapshot of economic performance, and help them make informed decisions critical to the long-term success of companies and communities around the world

Why has data analytics become so critical in the current times, particularly for the payments industry?

Data analytics help tapping the power of data by using tools and technologies to find patterns that yield insights. It’s these insights that businesses and governments find truly actionable, especially in uncharted times when there is no rear view or past trends. Its problem-solving prowess becomes an essential navigational tool.

The payments industry generates lots of data that is helpful and important for governments and businesses to make informed decisions for fraud prevention, risk exposure assessment, improved customer service, better customer targeting and top channel performance. In the current data-driven era, analytics can support businesses optimise, streamline and grow, as well as deliver value to consumers during and post-Covid.

How is Mastercard all set to leverage big data analytics for business in a post-Covid world?

At Mastercard, our analytics platforms enable organisations globally to make faster and better business decisions based on real-time, anonymised and aggregated transaction data and proprietary analysis.

We generate insights through a comprehensive array of software platforms and services that provide solutions to the core challenges faced by the businesses today. We enable customers to innovate strategically and distil insights from this data through software platforms and industry expertise, driving strong consumer connections.

Today, we are working closely with various banks, governments and businesses by making insight-driven tools available to them to give a timely snapshot of economic performance and help them make informed decisions critical to the long-term success of companies and communities around the world.

To cite an example, when a quick-service restaurant chain in Asia Pacific was at a financial loss, data based insights allowed the restaurant chain to focus resources on those outlets that had a better chance of rebounding with aligned timings and menu options of work-from-home habits and tailored promotions for larger transaction volumes.

In another instance, we leveraged our data driven proprietary platforms to help an international airline that saw bookings drop 60 percent and continued to fall precipitously toward an overall drop of 90 percent across the entire travel and hospitality sector in the airline’s country of origin. With relevant insights on price reduction, trip duration, the immediacy of departure and fare type, the airline saw a potential 30 percent increase in international bookings resulting in a 25 percent increase in revenue on economy routes over control routes. With a better understanding of how fare conditions influence uptake, the airline is now manoeuvring further as more travel routes open.

What are your key implementations and how is it contributing in providing seamless services to your customers?

As I mentioned above, our analytics platforms enable organisations globally to make faster and better business decisions based on real-time, anonymised and aggregated transaction data and proprietary analysis by:
• Providing customers across industries and geographies with a tailored portfolio of solutions to address pain points across their businesses
• Harnessing the power of anonymized and aggregated transaction data, analytics and expertise to create global, actionable insights, enable more intelligent decisions and drive predictive capabilities
• Prioritising customer-centricity and the user experience by delivering convenience: speed, ease of use and personalisation

To cite an example; our application Intelligent Targeting helps boost efficiency, effectiveness and ease of acquisition by leveraging insights and expertise to design, execute and optimise acquisition campaigns for high-value customers and Business Locator provides the most accurate, up-to-date view of Mastercard-accepting merchants open for business on any given day.

Similarly, Acquirer Intelligence Center enables pre-defined analytics on portfolio performance across volume, fraud, and authorisation, compared to custom benchmarks for a full view of business performance and actionable insights.

In the last few months, we have been committed to leverage this expertise and help retailers, restaurants, consumer brands and many others navigate the challenges of the pandemic. Our customers need our services more than they ever needed as they need to act fast while they are taking multiple recovery actions across the globe. Since cross border travel has been hit the hardest in this pandemic, we are trying to help the customers on gradually building up domestic solutions as alternatives before the international travel across the world resumes.

For instance, we used data analytics on transactional data to help a financial institution count and counter the Covid-19 impact with a report outlining year-over-year shifts in spending broken down by day relevant subcategories was provided along with a quantitative financial assessment on clients’ businesses. This was followed by drawing up likely scenarios in terms of mitigating actions and growth opportunities.

We recently introduced a portal, in UK to help people and businesses manage the transition from the lockdown by providing searchable information about merchant establishments that have re-opened. This is based on successful Mastercard card transactions at the relevant stores within the last 48 hours and up to the previous seven days.

Another instance, when an Asian country wanted to understand the impact of the lockdown on its economy it chose to analyse transaction data. Changing consumption patterns indicated the sectors that had been most affected.

Please share how you are setting high benchmarks in terms of data security and safety ? If you can give some examples.

We live in an increasingly interconnected world. On an average, a household has around 8 connected devices and an organisation has 100s. The attack surface that a cybercriminal can exploit grows with every device and so does the complexity of managing cyber security.

Mastercard strives to deliver best in class user experience that is safe, secure and fits well with customer’s needs. We have been leveraging latest mobile and AI tools to build an environment with highest levels of security. Our latest acquisition, RiskRecon, can monitor the cybersecurity performance of organisations using open-source intelligence by deploying passive, non-interfering techniques to discover organisation’s public systems and to analyse the cybersecurity risk posture of those systems. These scans can be completed easily without any technical help without any access to data or integration with existing systems. This helps in increasing the frequency of the scans without any disruption to business. We believe that these capabilities will help organisation identify gaps before the criminals and also address risks with the (aforementioned) expanding scope of cyber security.

Your views / any other significant factor.

We established ‘Data & Services Centre of Excellence’ in India, in 2013, to support Mastercard foreign group entities. The aforesaid support includes providing of data insights and strategic payment solutions by identifying spending trends derived from the billions of anonymous transactions processed by Mastercard every year.

Our Centre has recruited qualified analytics talent with payments industry, retail, technology and media experience to provide hands-on support to Mastercard foreign group entities on custom analytics.

The COE provides data insights by analysing spending trends derived from the 73 billion anonymous transactions processed by Mastercard and specific customer shared data elements, every year. Along with insights and analytics, this group also supports in data driven consulting.

New-age technology is witnessing a steady growth in India. Keeping that in mind, we (under the guidance and instructions of the Mastercard foreign group entities) established Artificial Intelligence Garage at the start of last year with an aim to enhance existing solutions as well as create new ones. With this, we embarked on an expansion and reskilling programme focused on AI where we are hiring experienced AI professionals as well as fresh computer science graduates and training them in this new-age technology.

analyticsbanksBig Data AnalysisData SecurityGovernmentmasterCard
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