Mastercard Joins with Unilever to Empower Small Merchants

Mastercard and Unilever announced a partnership on Wednesday through which they plan to expand access to resources for small and micro businesses in emerging markets.

The partnership will combine Unilever’s distribution network with Mastercard’s payments technology and expertise.

“This is one of the many types of existing, non-payment companies that are suddenly thrust into payments because of the PF model,” said Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group and publisher of

“Whether it’s bringing electronic payments to small and micro merchants through software aimed at specific verticals or through a physical distribution network like Unilever’s, this is exactly what global distribution of merchant acceptance through the payment facilitator model looks like.”

The companies are developing their first pilot project to help enable growth for small retailers in Kenya. The partnership will involve a number of joint initiatives, the companies said.

“As a first step, Mastercard and Unilever will explore ways to enable better access to formal financial tools for smaller retail outlets while also building entrepreneurship capacity, particularly for women and girls,” Mastercard said in an unattributed portion of its release. “Additional focus areas may include joint efforts to increase the usage of electronic payments across both wholesale and retail locations.”