Introducing Andrew Buckley, Head of Core Products for MasterCard in Europe (Sept. 18, 2014)
Another addition to the MasterCard team in Europe is Andrew Buckley, who’s responsible for core products, which include prepaid, commercial products, debit, credit and loyalty. Paybefore was invited to sit down with Buckley, who joined the payments network 15 months ago, during MasterCard Europe’s prepaid conference, which concluded yesterday in Budapest.
In addition to his responsibilities at MasterCard, Buckley is a doctoral student at the University of Manchester, where he researches organizations’ effectiveness in creating innovative solutions—an interesting course of study for someone helping to develop prepaid product support at the network level.
“What you see at this conference is a lot of innovation and entrepreneurial activity using prepaid for all kinds of applications,” he tells Paybefore. “Prepaid is at its best when it’s a tool to solve for a specific need, and we see tremendous examples of success when it’s used in that way, which is why it’s our fastest growing product.”
Another reason for prepaid’s success among MasterCard’s family of products, according to Buckley, is the organizational investment MasterCard makes in prepaid. “We work to enable the industry by putting the resources behind prepaid—like research, case studies, this conference and MasterCard Advisors, for example—to promote sharing knowledge to help us all achieve the objective of a world beyond cash.”
Like Antonia Stroeh, MasterCard’s new head of prepaid product development in Europe, Buckley sees great opportunities to further grow the prepaid business in Europe. And, these opportunities, he says, stand to benefit not only MasterCard and its partners, but also “can add value” to society in many areas, such as supporting underbanked populations; providing feature-rich, but functional, money management tools for SMEs; and displacing paper-based processes in government.
As a man with innovation on his mind, Buckley offers up MasterCard’s work with Apple to support the new Apple Pay service as an example of his company’s work to continue to innovate. And, he points to MasterCard’s recently issued requirement for NFC-enabled acceptance terminals in Europe, through a phase-in program, by January 1, 2020, as continuing to elegantly meet customer needs, while supporting MasterCard’s world-beyond-cash mission. Buckley notes that the NFC requirement is a terminal requirement only; prepaid cards will not be required to have NFC capabilities.
When asked about what makes a successful prepaid program, Buckley returns to his point of clearly identifying the specific need for a prepaid product and then creating a product that meets the need specifically and simply. And the tone of voice in communicating with consumers is tremendously important, he adds. “Our research shows the tremendous positive effect getting the proper tone of voice makes on factors like positive perception and how much customers say they’re willing to pay for service.”
Commenting on another hot topic in Europe, the reduction of interchange, Buckley notes that lessons from around the world tell us that the business model will adapt to the changing costs and revenues of programs. “Not to say it won’t be a difficult transition,” he adds.
Then, he returns to the point of the day: Build better prepaid by putting yourself in the mind of the consumer.
Buckley serves on the board of the nonprofit Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing. Prior to joining MasterCard, he was with American Express.