Mastercard expands consulting services to cover cryptocurrency, NFTs, open banking

The payment processor giant aims to help businesses navigate the changing digital asset landscape.
Written by Evan Zimmer, Staff Writer

Mastercard announced Tuesday that the company is expanding its consulting services to help businesses and banks better understand the evolving digital asset and financial landscape. The company is looking to hire 500 college graduates and young professionals to facilitate the new programs.

According to the press release, the company wants to help banks and merchants have an easier time adopting digital assets like cryptocurrency and NFTs. 

The new consulting areas will cover NFT and digital currency risk assessment, helping to create actionable strategies around the development of crypto credit cards and crypto loyalty programs.

"Mastercard has curated partnerships with digitally native firms that offer best-of-breed solutions in cryptocurrencies and has helped fintechs expand into new markets, working through go-to-market planning and commercialization strategies," the company said in the release. 

The announcement is unsurprising considering how vocal Mastercard has been with its cryptocurrency support.

In its fourth quarter earnings call, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach said the company will continue to support the cryptocurrency ecosystem in 2022. He also announced a partnership with Coinbase to allow the purchase of NFTs without needing to first purchase Ethereum (ETH) or needing to have a digital wallet. Mastercard customers will likely be able to do so when Coinbase launches its NFT marketplace, though no release date has been announced.

Open banking -- when financial institutions and third-party financial service providers have shared access to customer's financial data -- is another burgeoning field in the US. Some cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, utilize open banking to simplify connecting a bank account with the exchange.

Mastercard is looking to help businesses properly use open banking by applying its "data-driven insights, advisory, and product development services" to help generate actionable strategies.

"This evolution of consulting is in recognition of the changing world and of our changing business. It's about helping customers navigate today's challenges and anticipating what's next," said Raj Seshadri, president of Data & Services at Mastercard, in the press release.

Open banking could allow for the easier transferring of accounts between banks, better matching of consumers with financial products, and better loan terms based on more-detailed reports of consumers' financial situations. It could also mean better fraud monitoring for small businesses -- thanks to a connected financial network. 

However, it isn't without risks. According to FICO, it could lead to higher exposure to data breaches and insider threats like data-screen scraping, among others.

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