Mastercard, Stride Partner for Gig Worker Benefits

The partnership is the first time differentiated medical benefits will be offered by a payments network.

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Need to Know

  • Stride will offer coverage plans to Mastercard holders in the U.S., marking the first time differentiated medical benefits will be offered by a payments network
  • Mastercard will initially make the platform available to two partners: Jobble and Mobility Capital Finance.
  • Stride’s platform includes a benefits marketplace where users can access insurance, discounted telemedicine and prescriptions, and expense-management tools.

Analysis

Mastercard is teaming up with Stride, the portable benefits platform, to offer benefits to gig workers who are also Mastercard holders.

The partnership comes as there has been a global uptick in the number of individuals participating in the gig economy, and as the pandemic has accelerated the need for insurance that is flexible and offered on a digital platform. It also marks the first time a payments system has offered differentiated health, dental and vision benefits.

The first two Mastercard customers confirmed to have signed up for Stride’s Portable Benefits Platform are African American-owned fintech Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi) and Jobble, which is a community of more than two million gig workers. Stride’s Portable Benefits Platform will provide a benefits marketplace, which includes access to health insurance, dental and vision insurance, telemedicine and prescriptions, and financial tools; a customizable platform; and year-round access to a support concierge.

“The role of the gig and independent worker is increasingly relevant to our economy, as more and more people rely on digital tools and platforms to fulfill requests and facilitate tasks,” said Jess Turner, executive vice president of Products and Innovation, North America at Mastercard. “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.”

Turner added that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined a preexisting need for flexible healthcare and benefits support for gig workers. “The difference with COVID is [that] the acceleration of the need may be more apparent, and also the digitization of the way to access [it] is more accelerated,” she said. “People who potentially weren’t that digital before have had to become digital and are more comfortable. [To] leverage a digital platform to do something like offer benefits that are portable will probably have a better pickup and better customer experience and understanding”

Stride was founded in 2014 and has since led to more than $1-billion in savings on benefits for more than 1.5 million gig workers. Noah Lang, founder and CEO of Stride, said of the Mastercard partnership that “independent workers deserve the same access to affordable, comprehensive benefits as full-time workers. We’re putting that powerful platform in the hands of Mastercard’s partners so they can provide their users with access to those benefits.”

Mastercard has turned an eye towards technological innovation in recent months, tailoring and launching new features to the digital-first financial and economic demands of COVID-19. This has largely taken the form of strategic partnerships: with home grocery delivery service Instacart, for instance, to offer free delivery to new members; with TransferWise, to offer a borderless debit Mastercard to anyone in a country where both Mastercard and TransferWise operate; and with buy now, pay later company Splitit, to offer more flexible financing options to individuals who may be experiencing economic uncertainty due to the pandemic. Mastercard is focussed on accelerating its digital commerce capacities overall, and yet another partnership—with Microsoft—has been powering this effort since July.

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