Mastercard has launched a global trade platform, powered by Microsoft Azure, that is designed to streamline and automate the procure-to-pay process for companies around the world.
Mastercard argues that, while there has been a lot of innovation in consumer payments, the global B2B space is still inefficient and, largely, paper-based.
The card giant is hoping to change this with Mastercard Track, initially partnering with nine B2B networks and procure-to-pay providers - Basware, BirchStreet, Coupa, the Infor GT Nexus Commerce Network, Ivalua, Jaggaer, Liaison Technologies, Tradeshift and Tungsten Network - to better connect buyers and suppliers with networks, banks and solution providers.
Beginning in early 2019, customers of these nine organisations will be able to maintain, retrieve and exchange key information relating to themselves and their trading partners through the Track Trade Directory, a secure, permissioned repository of over 150 million company registrations worldwide.
As the platform expands, Mastercard says suppliers will have better visibility into cash flow across multiple networks. Track will help connect all types of payments - account-based, card-based or bank transfer - within the platform, while also connecting purchase order and invoice information.
Through its partners, Track will also look to enable B2B networks, banks, insurance companies and technology providers to extend value-added services to business customers, such as enhanced data analytics and trade finance.
Michael Froman, vice chairman and president of strategic growth, Mastercard, says: "Mastercard Track is a tool that will help reduce frictions in the global trading system and promote increased exports - especially by small and medium-sized businesses."