Mastercard Wants to Woo the Wealthy

Across the globe, 85% of retail transactions currently are made by means of cash or check, reports American Banker website.  MasterCard sees that number as an opportunity, according to President and Chief Executive Ajay Banga, as it provides a big audience for them to target.

MasterCard wants to promote payments made by plastic as opposed to paper and is making new attempts to lure consumers into spending via debit, credit and prepaid cards. How MasterCard gains revenue is by processing transactions involving one of its branded payment cards. Those cards are issued by partnering banks.

MasterCard has been busy putting efforts into building a bigger marketing campaign for its World Elite Program, which has a structured rewards program that is geared towards more affluent consumers, claims MasterCard chief product officer Tim Murphy, as per

They are also giving a big push to their Priceless Cities program, which was launched in New York over the summer.

“It’s a wide-ranging campaign that goes from television advertising to print to outdoor to make sure that consumers that live in New York and want to enjoy what is available here can really get access to it,” said the chief marketing officer at MasterCard, Alfredo Gangotena, according to Marketwatch.

Priceless Cities avails customers of opportunities to use their card to unlock doors granting them special access to exclusive events, such as VIP admission to Big Apple theatres and restaurants, Bronx Zoo overnight camping trips, entrance to elite events with the Yankees and other “consumer passion point” destinations.

On what may seem to be the opposite end of the spectrum, they are also planning to focus on marketing more prepaid cards to consumers. Traditionally a suitable card option for low-income, “underbanked” or individuals who are credit-challenged, MasterCard anticipates an increasing attraction towards prepaid cards to be shown by people across all different demographics.

Murphy said to MarketWatch that future interest in prepaid cards “will be driven by banked consumers looking” for new ways to budget their spending and exert better control over their finances.

MasterCard even went so far as to establish a partnership with chain discount retailer Wal-Mart to sell versions of their MoneyCard emblazoned with the MasterCard brand. Wal-Mart currently peddles MoneyCards branded with MasterCard’s competitor, Visa.

In this way, MasterCard hopes to elicit more electronic payments from the world’s marketplace and corner a large portion of those transactions.