Brazil: Mastercard/Facebook enable WhatsApp digital payments
Extending its partnership with Facebook, Mastercard is working with the social media company to allow WhatsApp users in Brazil to transfer money and pay businesses via the app, providing a quick, convenient and secure digital payment method.
Among the first to benefit from this payment method are Mastercard cardholders that bank with Nubank and Sicredi, with additional banking partners expected to join the program soon.
With social distancing measures requiring consumers to seek alternative contactless payment methods, Mastercard’s solution known as ‘Mastercard Send’ will allow users of WhatsApp to use their phones to transfer money instantly, seamlessly, securely and in a contact-free way, 24/7.
“Over a third of young Brazilians make payments through their mobile phone regularly today, and we know immediacy of payment transfers and instant confirmations are the most important factors for this segment of consumers,” said Shari Krikorian, Senior Vice President, New Payment Platforms, Products and Innovation, Mastercard.
“Our partnership with WhatsApp, powered by Mastercard Send™, is just another example of how Mastercard is providing innovative new solutions for customers and consumers all around the world, enabling them to send and receive money, when, where and how they want. Mastercard Send plays a key role in diversifying Mastercard’s payment flows and enhancing payment experiences for customers.”
Person to person payments (P2P)
With person to person payments (P2P) seeing significant growth due to technologies and mobile platforms, globally, Mastercard predicts that domestic p2P transfers are expected to reach more than US$2.07trn by 2022.
With the new solution, Mastercard and Facebook aim to make the once cumbersome and time consuming process of transferring money in Brazil, convenient and secure. With the ability to make P2P payments via WhatsApp those in Brazil will be able to register their debit card with the app to make payments and eliminate the risks and inefficiencies that are associated with other payment methods.
Electronic payments for small businesses
As well as the capability to make transfers, WhatsApp users can also pay small businesses via the WhatsApp Business Application. As a result those in Brazil can instantly make digital payments for goods and services to millions of small businesses.
According to a recent study, 60% of Brazilian consumers already use WhatsApp to interact with small businesses, to order products, negotiate prices or schedule appointments. By enabling Mastercard cardholders to register their credit or debit card on WhatsApp to make secure payments, consumers can complete their shopping journey without the need to leave the application.
“We are very excited to bring payments on WhatsApp to our users across Brazil. Making it easier to send and receive money could not be more important than at a time like this,” said Matt Idema, WhatsApp's Chief Operating Officer. “Small businesses are the backbone of the country. The ability to easily make sales right within WhatsApp will help business owners adapt to the digital economy and to support growth and financial recovery.”
By harnessing Mastercard’s state-of-the-art tokenization solution, linking credit or debit cards to WhatsApp is highly secure. The technology protects cardholder information by replacing the original 16-digit card number with a unique alternative number - ‘token’ - associated with each individual account which is not functional anywhere else. Once the token has been created, consumers need to input their security PIN each time they want to make a transaction.
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UK office space slashed as hybrid working looks set to stay
With hybrid predicted to be the working model of the future, and businesses both large and small announcing that WFH will continue for employees into the future, the traditional office space is being re-thought.
Businesses are both questioning how much space they need for a hybrid working future, especially if it means they can potentially save money, and what form that space should take.
UK firms slashing office space
Back as early as February, HSBC – whose real estate footprint currently stretches to around 112 football pitches worldwide – said it would be cutting its post-COVID office space by half globally and by 40% in London over the next few years, as it looks to implementation of a hybrid working model in light of the pandemic.
Lloyds Bank followed suit. Following an internal survey where 77% of employees said they wanted to continue to work for 3+ days a week post-pandemic, the bank announced it was also moving to a hybrid model, and so looking to cut its office space by 20% over the next two years.
In fact, the latest research from consulting firm PwC reveals that a third of organisations surveyed (258 of the UK’s largest companies) believe they will reduce their office footprint by more than 30%.
The findings of PwC’s Occupier Survey indicate there is likely to be a sizeable fall in occupied office space with half of executives surveyed saying that despite taking into account mass vaccinations, employees will continue to work virtually 2-3 days a week.
And companies continue to announce the hybrid working model for their employees. Accountancy firm EY has just announced that its 17,000 employees are moving to a hybrid way of working, WFH for at least two days a week. This follows PwC which in March said workers could stay at home for half the time and KPMG which this month said it would expect employees to only work two days in the office every week.
More collaborative work spaces
However, what’s also clear from PwC’s research is that the role of the office is not going to disappear completely, but instead adapt to a new way of working, with half of all organisations with more than 100 employees saying they have a real estate and workplace strategy that considers the long-term impact of COVID-19.
“We may see an increased demand for flexible space as many businesses operating models may well need that option if holding dead space is to be avoided,” says Angus Johnson, UK Real Estate Leader at PwC UK.
According to the survey, more than three quarters of respondents said they are likely to reconfigure existing office with 43% of financial services firms stating that they are extremely likely to do so as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s also clear that the nature and purpose of office space is going to change. As occupiers seek new, different space to meet their accommodation needs, environmental aspects will be increasingly important. If the real estate sector is to truly succeed as a more dynamic, greener industry it’s imperative that creative thinking comes to the fore.”
And companies are already thinking creatively how they can utilise office space in a hybrid future. So while HSBC is cutting a significant amount of office space, it is not downsizing its prestigious Canary Wharf headquarters, and instead reimagining the space. In April, CEO Noel Quinn announced the firm was embracing an open plan floor, with no designated desks or private offices, and instead using hot-desks in line with the future hybrid working style. “My leadership team and I have moved to a fully open-plan floor of the building in east London with no designated desks,” he said on LinkedIn.
Lloyds also reported it was adapting its office space, so that rather than individual offices, it will have a more collaborative workspace. And just last month, KPMG announced it too was ditching desks and individual offices, and replacing them with meeting rooms and conference halls for a more collaborative workspace.