Transforming Technology into Trust

by Mr Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber & Intelligence, Mastercard



We are at a fascinating point in the development of the global marketplace. In some ways the world has never been smaller, as rapidly advancing digital technology enables us to engage with individuals, brands and organizations around the globe. But as we see unprecedented levels of connectivity, so the complexity of our markets increases.

As the physical and digital worlds converge, particularly with the growing Internet of Things (IoT) and with the rise of 5G, there is an almost invisible integration and use of technology in our daily lives. By 2025, it is estimated there will be 75 billion connected devices, bringing new opportunities and the need for new solutions. Meanwhile, these connected devices and networks are also generating exponential growth in data - this creates a powerful new level of personalisation but needs to be protected and kept safe.

Consumers in the Asia Pacific region are among the most enthusiastic adopters of digital payments in the world, with 88 per cent using technologies like digital wallets, QR codes, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), cryptocurrencies and biometrics in the last year, according to Mastercard’s New Payments Index. And this usage is growing: about 70 per cent of consumers in the region increased their usage of at least one digital payment method last year. 


Trust is Key

Trust lies at the heart of the digital economy - whether it’s a customer making an online purchase through an app or a printer recognizing it’s running low on ink and automatically ordering new cartridges. And for Mastercard, trust is the only currency that matters. In the physical world, trust relies on two things - how much we know about an individual and whether we know if they are who they say they are. Digital trust works in the same way. It’s about enabling people to prove their identity in a way that is convenient, seamless and secure.


Our mission is to make the digital economy feel like a local marketplace – one where you go every week, where you don’t need to reintroduce yourself every time and where there’s trust on both sides of the interaction. For that to be achieved, payments must keep up with the way we live, work and do business. That means offering choice to consumers with the highest possible security. Looking ahead, identity has the power to revolutionize how we go about our daily lives – transforming how people access healthcare, education, public services and more.

That future is closer than you think. New and emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, quantum, cloud computing and digital assets are transforming the ecosystem and opening up new opportunities rapidly. We are constantly looking for ways to leverage these new technologies to enhance security and convenience.


The AI Advantage

Among our own investments in emerging technologies, AI is fueling development and innovation like no other. From predicting weather patterns and food supply shortages to helping diagnose and treat disease, AI is transforming the world around us. Mastercard has been at the forefront of AI for many years and the technology is now integrated into almost every area of our business. 


First, AI is invaluable in helping us protect our ecosystem. The deployment of AI-powered solutions to safeguard payments has saved US$30 billion in fraud in the past two years alone. Second, AI helps us deliver better digital experiences, allowing people to transact and interact how, where and when they want. Finally, it is helping us in building a sustainable digital economy, solving some of society’s most pressing challenges. 

We’re also getting ahead of new technologies like quantum computing to enhance security and convenience. Our Enhanced Contactless (Ecos) technology and compatible cards are an industry first, delivering next-generation algorithms and cryptographic key strengths to ensure that, as new technologies like quantum computing are introduced, contactless payments are future-proofed for decades to come. 


A Sustainable Digital Economy

Of course, our vision is not only to make the ecosystem safer, more secure and seamless – but also more sustainable. That is why we are building a sustainable digital economy where everyone prospers. 

We must all do our part to help save the planet – as individuals, organisations and business and government leaders. At Mastercard, this means developing products and programmes that help us contribute to a sustainable future, such as our sustainable cards programme which helps banks issue more eco-friendly cards and now has more than 100 million sustainable cards in circulation globally. 


Whatever the platform or the technology and the pace of its development, we must remain laser-focused on consumer choice and protection, while solving real-world problems. By providing reliable and trustworthy infrastructure, we help ensure that global and local communities are built with the best chance of succeeding in their mission. 

In this hyperconnected world, there are many reasons to be optimistic for the future. As we build a sustainable and inclusive economy in the physical world, online and beyond into whatever comes next - be that the metaverse or possibilities as yet unknown - we must ensure that we continue to build the future as we wish to see it. 

We would like to thank our member Mastercard Asia Pacific for this write-up and Mr Raju Chellam for his insightful editorial contributions.


Pioneering Digital Trust

SGTech believes that there is an opportunity to position Singapore as a global node for digital and data, based on trust. 

Learn more or join our upcoming SGTech Global Future Series: Digital Trust Forum at  

Published Oct 2022