The Mastercard and NowNow partnership emerges in the midst of significant increases in cybercrime in recent years. This problem is highlighted by figures released by the Nigerian Communications Commission. The commission explained that Nigeria loses an estimated $500million per year, solely due to cybercrime.

SMEs have often been found to be popular targets for cybercriminals. Because they are less likely to have the resources to defend themselves, they are targeted more often than bigger organisations. SMEs are also less likely to act accordingly following breaches, as they do not have set systems in place to respond.

NowNow attempts to protect SMEs with regular web application penetration tests. Such tests look to ensure that SMEs’ applications are not vulnerable to any cyber threats. The startup’s offering is currently available in Nigeria and Angola, with plans to expand into further markets soon.

NowNow is also the only African start-up participating in the latest Mastercard Start Path Global Program. The program is designed to help later-stage startups innovate and scale. NowNow received operational support, commercial engagement, and the opportunity for strategic investment from the program.

The partnership also aims to make the Mastercard Trust Centre more accessible to its partner SMEs. The centre was established by Mastercard to help SMEs address cybersecurity concerns as part of its $250million commitment to help SMEs after the effects of covid-19 badly affected businesses.

Supporting SMEs
Paul Trueman, executive vice president of product optimisation and customer advancement, cyber and intelligence at Mastercard.

Paul Trueman is the executive vice president of product optimisation and customer advancement, cyber and intelligence at Mastercard.

Trueman explained the need to protect SMEs: “As Mastercard brings the next billion people into the digital economy, it is vital that business owners feel as secure and safe from cybercrime as possible. Our partnership with NowNow is key to achieving this. Whether large or small, businesses deserve the peace of mind to operate knowing that they are being kept safe.”

Sahir Berry, CEO of NowNow, also discussed the aims of the partnership. Berry said: “Like Mastercard, NowNow is committed to driving financial and digital inclusion by building an ecosystem that digitises payments and creates access to financial services for businesses, governments, and customers in rural and urban communities using simplified branchless banking initiatives.

“We are excited to partner with the Mastercard Trust Centre to help our customers improve the security of their cyber ecosystem, and better protect themselves from cyber criminals.”