As people all over the world are leaving rural areas and moving to cities in search for jobs, education and a better life, city governments are challenged to meet the expectations of a growing urban population.
When the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable was identified as a key goal.
In many aspects of urban life, the dominance of cash creates unnecessary friction, slowing down city dwellers that just want to go about their day, and holding back businesses from participating in the digital economy.
The latest city to tap into the potential of electronic payments is Mexico City, joining London, Singapore, and a number of other cities, that are working with Mastercard to foster sustainable urban development.
At a ceremony joined by Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga in Mexico’s capital last week, Mayor Mancera outlined plans to make the city’s public transport system easier to use. Today, Mexico City’s major subway and bus networks carry 5.5 million travelers each day, requiring different ticketing systems. In addition, there are about 9 million daily trips on small buses that only take cash. This can make it hard for residents and visitors to get to where they want to go, wasting precious time in front of ticket machines or waiting in line.
Mastercard will work with local banking partners to launch a debit card that can be used for both transit payments as well as every day purchases, and potentially social disbursements. For many citizens, such a card may be the first step towards building a digital identity – a critical component to fully participate in the formal economy.
Recognizing that small and micro businesses are the backbone of the city’s economy, Mastercard will also help to expand the acceptance of electronic payments for this segment, delivering greater convenience to buyers and operational efficiencies to entrepreneurs.
With international tourism representing a significant source of income and employment for Mexico City, insights derived from the Mastercard network can help tourism authorities and businesses better understand what kind of experiences visitors are looking for and tailor programs to their needs.
Commenting on the collaboration, Antonio Junco, President of Mastercard Mexico and Central America, said: “Mexico City has tremendous experience in managing the daily operations of a mega city – a task that is constantly evolving. We look forward to providing our expertise to help Mexico City continue on its path to become a smart, connected and inclusive city – advancing a better quality of life for all its citizens.”