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Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association join forces to make virtual cards for medical tourism (cross-border) payments a reality

11 iulie 2024

Over half of patients globally expressed concerns over international payments due to hidden costs, exchange rate complexities and greater fraud risk. The Medical Tourism Association (MTA) will launch a one-stop platform with Mastercard payment capabilities to bring more convenience, flexibility, and trust to the medical tourism industry.    

„This marks a first-of-its-kind move for the medical tourism industry, which has largely remained reliant on cash and wire transfers, leading to a lack of financial transparency and limited payment options for individuals seeking treatments abroad.” – according to the press release.


Insights from a recent Medical Tourism Patient Survey reveal that over half of patients globally expressed concerns over international payments[1] due to hidden costs, exchange rate complexities and greater fraud risk, demonstrating a clear need to improve the payment process.   

Patients will be able to simply book and pay for their treatment using a payment method of their choice, and the MTA seamlessly handles the rest by leveraging Mastercard’s virtual card technology. As soon as the payment is initiated and validated, the MTA’s banking partner will issue a Mastercard virtual card to pay the health care provider directly. Introducing virtual cards also brings a range of benefits to providers. These include increased security, robust controls, and real-time remittance data for more efficient reconciliation.   

To go beyond solving the pain points in health care payments, the MTA is developing Better by MTA, a new user-friendly platform integrated with Mastercard’s payment capabilities that aims to bring medical and travel services together. From paying for and scheduling a procedure to reserving corresponding travel, transportation and lodging, patients will be able to confidently manage every aspect of their journey within the same platform. Better by MTA is intended to simplify your travel choices, streamline the payment process, and allow you to effortlessly compare care options – replacing multiple booking tools with a connected, one-stop experience for your medical travel needs.

Mastercard and the MTA are first launching these new payment capabilities with several health care providers around the world and plan to expand to more providers globally by the end of 2024. 

What the health care providers have to say:   

“Medical tourism is one of Turkey’s fastest-growing industries, experiencing an annual growth rate of 22.6%[2].  With more patients abroad seeking our services, we’re thrilled to be one of the first hospitals to receive Mastercard virtual cards for these payments. Shifting from cash to digital payments will unlock efficiencies for our finance teams and bring unmatched payment security.” — Johan W. F. de Letter, Europe/U.S. group director, Memorial Hospitals Group 

“Medical tourism is a win-win for the entire health care ecosystem, but significant challenges persist, especially driven by the lack of payment digitization across the industry. With Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association coming together to streamline cross-border payments with virtual cards, we will be able to provide quality health care to more people who need it – regardless of where they live.” — Dr. Andrew Elkwood, CEO, Advanced Reconstructive Surgery Alliance (ARSA); founder, The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction 

“Ensuring that health care is accessible to anyone who needs it is essential yet cost often remains a significant barrier. While medical tourists traveling to Thailand can save significantly — anywhere from 25% to 75% on their treatments — the process of handling cross-border payments has traditionally been slow and inefficient for providers. We are proud to collaborate with the Medical Tourism Association and Mastercard, leveraging innovative payment methods like virtual cards, to streamline these transactions. This initiative is key to making quality health care more attainable and simplifying payment processes for everyone involved.” — Artirat Charukitpipat, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Bumrungrad International Hospital 

“The medical tourism industry is growing worldwide, and with Abu Dhabi quickly becoming a leading destination for treatments abroad, we’re seeking ways to enhance the payment process, making it easier for both patients and providers like us. We are proud to partner with Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association to make virtual cards for medical tourism payments a reality, improving the overall health care experience.” — Aysha Al Mahri, deputy CEO, Burjeel Medical City 

Sources:  

[1]Medical Tourism Patient Survey 2024, The Medical Tourism Association   

[2]The Expansion of Turkey’s Medical Tourism Industry; Voices in Bioethics, June 2022 

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Anders Olofsson – former Head of Payments Finastra

Banking 4.0 – „how was the experience for you”

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In 23 septembrie 2019, BNR a anuntat infiintarea unui Fintech Innovation Hub pentru a sustine inovatia in domeniul serviciilor financiare si de plata. In acest sens, care credeti ca ar trebui sa fie urmatorul pas al bancii centrale?