In a conference call this morning, we shared Mastercard’s financial results for the fourth quarter and the full 2016 fiscal year. As you may have seen in our press release, our business continues to perform well.
But, it’s important to start with a view beyond just our business. In today’s global economy, what happens in one country impacts others. While we continue to see bright spots, there are some areas that we, like others, will continue to watch.
In markets like Europe and the U.S., the economic recovery has continued throughout the year and the prospects for 2017 are encouraging, with consumer confidence and unemployment trends improving. Yet, the full implications of Brexit will not be known for some time and it is still too early to tell what impact the new government in the U.S. will have. Meanwhile, we are still cautious on Asia, as those economies cope with China’s slowdown. We see a continued impact of oil prices on the Middle East, while in Latin America, Brazil is emerging from a deep recession.
So, with that as a frame, let me share a few examples of the momentum across our business that is delivering against the strategy we shared at last fall’s investor day.
Digital – Digital-by-default is not a promise, but increasingly a reality. Our teams delivered on our goal of enabling 80 million accounts. Add to that Masterpass becoming the first digital payment service to work across all devices and channels, and consumers can now have a true seamless shopping experience — online, in-store or in-app. We’re also supporting markets that may not have traditional payments technology, leveraging a QR-based payment solution for the benefit of retailers and consumers in countries like Nigeria and India.
Safety and Security – We’re combining artificial intelligence with our technology and innovation to deliver smarter solutions. Decision Intelligence is now adding to the layers of security we deliver in every transaction, using machine learning to help inform issuer processes and reduce potential fraud. This and the launch of our Identity Check Mobile biometric authentication product in 16 markets illustrate how we continue to innovate to meet the needs of our customers.
Expansion – Our planned acquisition of VocaLink continues to progress. A couple weeks ago, the UK competition regulator accepted our proposed solution to address their concern regarding the LINK ATM scheme. We anticipate the final approval sometime this spring, when we can then finalize the purchase and offer a broader product choice for payments to consumers, merchants, banks and governments.
In the coming year, we will continue to invest in key long-term growth areas such as these to further strengthen our foundation for future growth and the value we deliver to our customers and cardholders.
Be sure to visit this space; we’ll continue to share updates on our journey and how we’re delivering against our strategy in this blog.