Mastercard, a US-based payment processing products and solutions giant has announced its commitment to invest of US$1 billion ( ~ ₹ 7,000 Crore) over the next five years in India.

In addition to the company's earlier investment of US$1 billion between 2014-19 in India, the additional investment tranche of $1 billion will go towards establishing a full on-soil domestic transactions processing center in and for India at Pune and investing in fintech startups in India.

Of the proposed $1 billion investment, $300 million would be on setting up domestic transactions processing centre at Pune.

Mastercard, which last year had invested in ToneTag, a Bangalore-based digital payments startup, is constantly evaluating opportunities to invest in fintech startups through its India Investment Fund, one of whose investments in the recent months was in Syntizen, a Hyderabad-based and T-Hub incubated B2B digital identity-centric product startup.

The remaining investment of $1 Bn India fund would be made on the services hub that would take care of various aspects, including authentication, fraud and safety and security solutions, analytics for customers in India and abroad. It would be set up in various locations.

Commenting on the strategic investment and the longer-term business strategy, Ari Sarker, co-president, Asia Pacific, Mastercard said, "India is a unique country with a progressive payments ecosystem. We are excited with our incremental and significant investment plans for this market, which we believe will be compelling differentiators for us. This investment builds on what is an enduring and focused strategy for us in this market, and will also enable us to explore avenues to expand our local collaborations and partnerships while deepening our commitment to the government’s vision of moving towards a cashless society."

Mastercard has already opened its new offices in Bengaluru and Gurugram, opened a Mastercard Lab & Operations Hub in Pune in 2017, and a Technology Centre in Vadodara. The company's workforce in India has grown to 2000 currently from mere 29 in 2013. India represents 14% of Mastercard’s global workforce.

With its local India Investment Fund, Mastercard has supported a range of startups including Razorpay, Zeta, Fluid AI, Happay, SignZy and ftcash.

With its recent investee startup Syntizen, Mastercard is developing Aadhaar-based authentication solutions. The startup founded in 2014 helps check attendance in government schools for mid-day meals by connecting Syntizen to the government’s biometrics database.

With Syntizen solutions, Mastercard has already helped Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation save Rs 50 crore in wages by providing a geo-tagging enabled employee monitoring tool. In an another initiative, Mastercard and Syntizen provided a digital portal to Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University that helped the varsity identify and blacklist more than 900 fake faculties and de-affiliate 203 fake colleges.

Moreover, Mastercard is also collaborated with Indian government-owned India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) as its exclusive authentication service agency. It facilitated the opening of 19 million accounts and 975,000 transactions for the payments bank between January 2017 and December 2018.

Sources - The Hindu, United News of India,

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