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Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association join forces to revolutionize cross-border healthcare payments

Industry News

Responding to the growing need to simplify access to global healthcare for patients, Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) have announced an exclusive partnership to modernize the end-to-end healthcare experience for patients and providers around the world. The Medical Tourism Association will utilize Mastercard’s commercial virtual card technology to go beyond arranging treatments to also facilitating fast and secure payments with healthcare providers. 

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. 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.  

“As a global technology company, we’re constantly innovating to solve pain points across multiple industries and simplify the way money flows across people and businesses,” said Chad Wallace, global head of Commercial Solutions at Mastercard, “We’re embedding our technologies to drive safer and faster payment experiences at scale, and this latest collaboration unlocks our ability to further extend the advantages of Mastercard virtual cards to reimagine the healthcare ecosystem.”  

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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

“For nearly two decades, we have played a critical role in providing affordable, transparent and high-quality healthcare by connecting patients with an extensive network of trusted, accredited providers worldwide,” said Jonathan Edelheit, chairman & co-founder of the Medical Tourism Association, “Developing a single interface with integrated Mastercard payment capabilities and services is a critical step in our mission to make quality healthcare secure and accessible across borders.”    

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

What the healthcare 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/US Group Director, Memorial Hospitals Group
  • “Medical tourism is a win-win for the entire healthcare 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 healthcare 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 healthcare is accessible to anyone who needs it is essential yet cost often remains a significant barrier. While patients 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 healthcare 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 healthcare experience.” — Aysha Al Mahri, Deputy CEO, Burjeel Medical City

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to enhance the medical tourism experience. If you are a provider and are interested in participating in the project, contact us by clicking here. To Read the Press Release from Mastercard click here.

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