MasterCard Inc. expects to rely heavily on technology to seek an edge in the expanding global commercial payments market, it signaled with a pair of recent announcements, including the hiring of a payments technology veteran to head its global card operations.

The Purchase, N.Y., card company on Sept. 30 appointed Edward Glassman group executive of its global commercial products unit, succeeding Steve Abrams, who retired. Glassman most recently was the chief information officer at Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

His hiring came after MasterCard's Sept. 23 announcement of a series of enhancements in its corporate expense-management platform, smartdata.gen2, which was rolled out in late 2007.

The two announcements put MasterCard in a position to put fresh pressure on entrenched global commercial card rivals, including American Express Co. and Citigroup Inc., an analyst said.

"It appears that MasterCard is using technology to improve its global commercial card offerings," said Nancy Atkinson, a senior analyst at Aite Group, "and that approach is a good one to help level the playing field, especially in the area of local issuing."

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