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HBS: Digital Payments Spectrum

January 11 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Recently, Mastercard announced it would begin offering a “buy now pay later” (BNPL) payment option to capitalize on strong consumer demand. The space is dominated by the likes of Klarna, Afterpay, Sezzle, Affirm, and Zip. In August, Square purchased Australia’s Afterpay for a reported $29 billion. Mastercard’s product will allow customers to take out interest-free loans to be paid in four installments.

“Many consumers are drawn to the instant gratification, easy access and predictable installments,” noted Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “The line between credit cards and buy now pay later is getting increasingly blurry. For example, Mastercard’s new offering works with digital wallets and on retailers’ websites.” BNPL potentially boosts merchant sales by as much as 45 percent, according to Mastercard. Yet, there is risk for the consumer in delinquent payments, fees and hits to their credit history. BNPL is just one area in which fintechs have created a market and behemoths like Mastercard, American Express, and Visa have had to provide similar products.

As CEO of Mastercard, Michael Miebach is on the forefront of the rapidly changing landscape of payments. As more people enter the digital economy, Mastercard is positioned to thrive in these times by creating innovative products and its relentless focus on mitigating cyber risks and improving transparency. In September, the company also launched Strive, a global initiative for micro and small businesses to digitize.

“When small businesses thrive our local communities and economies thrive, but when they struggle, the impact is widespread,” Miebach noted. “What small business owners need right now are partners who will listen to them and develop innovative solutions that will help them grow in the wake of the pandemic. It comes down to an investment in making their success our success. That’s what makes programs like Strive so critical today and tomorrow.”

Michael Miebach, who succeeded Ajay Banga as CEO earlier in the year, will join the HBS Club of New York for an exclusive conversation about his vision for the company, the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and the lessons he has learned throughout his professional career.

Join us for this insightful conversation.