Mastercard (NYSE: MA) is plugging itself into one crucial aspect of the gig economy. The company announced Thursday that, in collaboration with independent-contractor benefits provider Stride, it will "provide customers with the ability to offer cardholders in the United States access to simple, affordable [insurance] coverage plans."
In what it describes as a strategic partnership with Stride, Mastercard has already begun connecting its own clients to Stride's Portable Benefits Platform. Mastercard said that fintech company Mobility Capital Finance and on-demand employment specialist Jobble now use the platform.
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In its press release heralding the new partnership, Mastercard touted a number of benefits accessible by Portable Benefits Platform users. These include health insurance, plus specialized dental and vision plans, and financial tools such as income and expense management. Those users also have access to Stride's concierge service, in which that company's experts provide personal assistance for a range of issues.
It wouldn't be a Mastercard partnership without the inclusion of the company's bread and butter, its branded payment cards. Starting next year, enabled cardholders will be able to use their plastic to pay for the policies they take out through Stride's platform.
"Understanding evolving preferences from this segment for access to cost-effective coverage, and an overarching desire for a comprehensive set of personalized financial products and solutions, we're excited to make Stride's Portable Benefits Platform available to our partners via their cardholder offerings," said Jess Turner, Mastercard's executive vice president for products and innovation, North America.
On Thursday, though, Mastercard's shares slumped by 1.2%, a more precipitous fall than that of the S&P 500 index.
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