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23 Feb 2023

How Mastercard is making today’s card accessible, inclusive, and sustainable

In early August last year, the canals of Amsterdam were alive. Amsterdam Pride was in full swing and the Dutch capital was illuminated by radiant colours, uplifting music, and the energy of hundreds of thousands of partygoers who had come together to celebrate the freedom to truly be yourself and to love who you want.

At the heart of the parade floated our ‘being your true self is priceless’ boat.’ On board we welcomed pioneers from the transgender and non-binary communities to spread positive messages of inclusivity.

While events like this are memorable stops on our journey towards a more inclusive Europe, the true test comes in how we can continue to understand the ongoing needs and challenges individuals face to enable positive everyday changes and create limitless possibilities for everyone

Ensuring a future where EVERY card is for EVERY ONE

This starts with what we carry around in our purses and wallets.

For many people around the world, the identity printed on their cards does not reflect who they truly are, and this is too often overlooked across our industry.

As a first step, in 2019, we introduced True Name. The unique feature enables cardholders to proudly display their true, chosen first name on their card without requiring a legal name change. It is our way of empowering our customers to feel comfortable using the name that reflects their true identity, and thus removes barriers by allowing them to safely and easily use their true name for daily purchases.

Europe welcomed True Name with open arms.

In 2021, Dutch challenger bank bunq made True Name available in 30 countries across the region and Monzo became the first UK bank to integrate the feature into their payment cards. This has been followed by recent roll–outs by NiCKEL (France and Spain) and bpost (Belgium).

Making tomorrow’s cards more accessible

For some, it is the shape of the card rather than its appearance that can truly make a difference. There are over 30 million blind and partially sighted people currently living in Europe, who face challenges in navigating their wallet and cards on a daily basis.

That’s why – back in October 2021 – we launched a product dedicated to the blind and partially sighted community. The unique design of the Mastercard Touch Card uses a notch to bring security, inclusivity and independence to blind and partially sighted cardholders. 

These simple and innovative tactile notches allow the cardholder to quickly identify which payment card they are using with just a touch - rounded for debit, squared for credit and triangular for prepaid.

The concept was launched with a view to providing the 2.2 billion blind people around the world with greater independence, inclusion, and a sense of security.

Thanks to our partnerships across Europe, we’re making good progress against this goal.

Belgium has been a pioneering country for the Touch Card: bpost became the world’s first issuer to produce a card that integrates both the unique notches to the card shape and the True Name capability on the design.

This month, Universo Sonae has also launched Mastercard’s Touch Card for its customers in Portugal.

Protecting the future with sustainable cards

Finally, we continue working to provide Europeans with greater choice to improve the sustainability of their wallets. With over 637 million cards currently in circulation across the region – mostly made of first-use PVC – there is significant opportunity to drive positive environmental change.

So, in 2021, we introduced the Mastercard Sustainable Card badge to all cards that qualify through the Mastercard Card Eco-Certification (CEC) scheme. The small emblem shows consumers that their new card is completely environmentally–friendly and that all its green credentials have passed the extensive tests run by our team of in–house experts. We also have the Mastercard Sustainable Materials Directory to help issuers offer more eco-friendly cards to consumers.

This month, alongside Touch Card, Universo Sonae launched their new cards made from recycled plastic, which also display the universal recycling symbol.

The power of cards can never be under–estimated. At Mastercard, we continue driving innovation to introduce more accessible, inclusive, and sustainable card choices to Europeans and ensure everyone is empowered by what’s in their wallet.  


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