Square unites with Mastercard to digitise payments in the Falklands


Square, Mastercard and the Falkland Islands Government have all come together in a new collaboration that seeks to connect small and medium-sized businesses in the Falklands. 

Following London Tech Week, The newly formed group will focus on enabling firms’ capabilities when it comes to accepting card and digital payments.

Tim Waggott, Financial Secretary commented: “We have been a cash-heavy society for many years. But with increasing visitor numbers, we knew we needed to help our local businesses to make the shift to card payments. My predecessor here, James Wilson, had been working with industry to find a solution and we are really pleased it has finally come to fruition with Square and Mastercard.

“With the coronavirus pandemic it’s clearly an uncertain time for our business community, but they are resilient and used this time to get set up for the future. When the tourist trade returns, it’ll be more important than ever that we can give everyone safe and convenient ways to pay. This is a huge step forward which will ensure that our industry is well-positioned to meet future demand and that Falkland Islands businesses are more financially empowered to expand.”

The Falkland Islands lie 8,000 miles from London in a remote and beautiful location where penguins outnumber people by more than 100:1. To date, many of the Islands’ businesses have been cash-only. Banking and compliance issues made it difficult, and sometimes impossible for small businesses to sign up for merchant accounts to accept cards – and to get those funds settled into their bank account. On top of that, card payment machines were difficult to install and maintain in such a remote location.

With only one cash machine and bank branch on the Islands, residents and the tens of thousands of annual tourists alike were feeling the burden of cash as they queued up at the bank or paid with international currencies. Or worse still, businesses missed out on sales, as dealing in cash alone had become untenable.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Square, also stated: “Running a business is always hard ,and these business owners have the added challenge of being in one of the most remote places on earth. Connecting the Falklands is a big step in creating a more inclusive global economy.”

Mastercard connected the Falkland Islands Government to Square, and the three organisations formed a partnership to solve the challenges that made taking cards so uniquely difficult for this island community. This included helping sellers access the bank accounts needed for payments settlement. Together with onboarding them to Square to provide them with mobile Square Readers to take payments and to integrate the latest Mastercard technology.

Mark Barnett, President of Mastercard Europe, concluded: “Empowering small business is at the heart of what we do. This project transforms business opportunities for Islanders and significantly improves the experience for locals and tourists alike, who can now pay simply and safely using Mastercard’s latest payment technology including our sonic acceptance mark.

“Having been set the challenge of bringing payments to the Islands, we are delighted to have been able form this partnership and we wish the Islands’ businesses every future success.”

Expert Analysis: This collaboration can have a big boost to payment efficiency on the Island and subsequently will play a key role in enhancing its tourism and economy. Square and Mastercard are well-positioned to boost the region and provide its payment ecosystem with a new layer of digitalisation.