MasterCard to offer e-payments to UK public sector procurement activities

Source: MasterCard

For the first time, public sector agencies in the UK will have the choice to use MasterCard electronic payment solutions for their procurement activities under the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Framework Agreement.

Under the new framework announced by the OGC and running from 2010-2014, MasterCard solutions such as the MasterCard Purchasing Card, MasterCard SmartData Online and MasterCard inControl can be made available to the 3,300 national, regional and local public sector bodies in the UK through financial institutions AirPlus, Barclays, J.P. Morgan and RBS Group. The 44,000 disparate buying units across the UK public sector will also be able to use MasterCard payment solutions as tools to streamline and improve their purchase-to-pay processes. A global payments leader, MasterCard has been providing state-of-the-art procurement and other financial management solutions to government agencies in the UK and around the world for many years.

Hany Fam, General Manager, MasterCard UK & Ireland, comments: "Today's announcement marks a significant milestone for MasterCard, one that is testament to the customer focus and innovation we bring to the payments market. MasterCard electronic payment solutions will enable public sector agencies across the UK to reap real bottom-line savings by realising back-office efficiencies, accelerate payments to meet the 10-day payment target and tap into improved liquidity. We are highly confident that the MasterCard platform provides a solution which meets the UK public sector strategic requirements for scalability, security and flexibility through internationally acknowledged best of breed tools."

With the MasterCard Purchasing Card, public sector organisations will be able to leverage a range of powerful data reporting, integration and management tools provided by the SmartData Online system. In addition, financial institutions will have the option to leverage the proprietary MasterCard inControl platform. This will allow them to provide government agencies with enhanced authorisation controls that direct how, when and where payment cards may be used, combined with robust alert functionalities that deliver personalised real-time communication on transaction activities.

Brian Lang, Vice President, Commercial Products, MasterCard Europe, adds: "Commercial payment solutions constitute one of the largest growth opportunities in Europe. Thousands of commercial organisations across the continent are already benefiting from MasterCard's efficient electronic payment solutions, delivering greater end-to-end control over the procurement process. We are proud to be able to extend our value adding payment services to public sector agencies throughout the UK, thereby also benefiting their constituents, and we are committed to continuously make the buying process more efficient and more accountable."

MasterCard Europe has been involved in providing payments and reporting solutions to diverse public sector organisations in the UK, including the Welsh Purchasing Card (WPC) framework set up by Value Wales Procurement and provided through NatWest. The WPC system has served to significantly improve the efficiency of the procurement process and to create considerable cost savings for public sector organisations in Wales; not least because the majority have chosen to use the NatWest MasterCard programme and the associated SmartData OnLine.

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