Mastercard is rolling out a digital trade platform designed to make it easier for small- and medium-sized companies to do business around the world.
The company's Mastercard Track will, among other things, help businesses identify and assess potential international customers and suppliers, and manage global payments electronically. The database will include information on more than 150 million companies worldwide.
Michael Froman, Mastercard's vice chairman and president of strategic growth, says that global commerce is surprisingly inefficient and difficult for modest-sized companies to break into.
Froman, who was U.S. trade representative in the Obama administration, says firms still often keep records on paper and conduct business in cash.
Mastercard developed Track in collaboration with Microsoft and is working with nine companies that supply business-to-business software.