Mastercard and Mahendra Singh Dhoni Team Up to Accelerate Digital Payments in India

September 19, 2018 | New Delhi | By Barkha Patel
  • Mastercard partners the iconic cricketer in addition to the existing ambassador Irrfan Khan.
  • Cash-to-Digital campaign to focus on driving debit card usage in tier 2 and 3 cities.

Legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MSD) has joined Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to build a Less-Cash India. Under this partnership, MSD, along with Mastercard will build awareness about digital payments through a Cash-to-Digital campaign. The campaign will aim to educate consumers and merchants about the convenience, wide acceptance, and safety and security features of debit cards. MSD represents the new India and this partnership is an embodiment of what Mastercard is doing to build a Less-Cash India, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities through its investment in safety and security and in digital infrastructure.

Commenting on his partnership with Mastercard, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, said, “As a proud resident of Ranchi, a small city, and having travelled across the world, I relate to the importance of safe and secure payments that build confidence to live, work, and play in today’s digital economy. I am very excited to join hands with Mastercard to support the Government of India’s agenda of creating a digitally empowered, networked and knowledge society.”

Commenting on the announcement, Porush Singh, division president, South Asia, Mastercard said, “In Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mastercard has found another partner, in addition to Irrfan Khan who reflects the drive we share for a Less-Cash India. The association highlights a distinct combination of Mastercard's commitment to take digital payments to the last mile and MSD’s representation of a progressive and innovative ‘Bharat’. MSD’s influence will be the key to trigger a behavioral shift among those who still prefer cash or have some misconceptions about digital transactions.”

The Cash-to-Digital campaign has been designed to drive consumer and merchant awareness in tier 2 and 3 cities. Around 95 percent retail payments in India are still in cash and this presents a scope for growth of digital payments beyond the metros.

Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, Mastercard added, “At Mastercard, we have always been avid advocates of tapping into consumer’s passion points and in India, there is probably no greater passion than cricket. MSD has been an incredible unifying force for the nation and believe our partnership will powerfully punctuate our efforts around driving conversion from Cash-to-Digital payments, and even elevate them to the next level. Mastercard has time and again demonstrated an ability to truly identify and amplify local consumer passions in every country around the world.”

Arun Pandey, Chairman, Rhiti Sports, which exclusively manages MSD’s commercial engagements, said "Market leaders and innovators are best placed to execute campaigns which take the industry to the next level. The idea of Mastercard partnering with MSD to further the cause of cashless India is very appealing.”

Earlier this year, Mastercard launched a successful marketing campaign featuring Irrfan Khan which showcased the convenience of using digital transactions across internet banking, mobile wallets, debit cards, mobile and QR codes etc. and for everyday uses such as tolls and transits, for utility bills, grocery, fuel, among others.

About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @mastercardindia, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Mastercard Communications Contact
Latika Taneja, +91 98990 10054

Agency Communications Contact
Saurabh Aggarwal, +91 98110 51044

Barkha Patel, Vice President, Communications, International Markets (IMK), Mastercard