Mastercard to proceed with plans to create 1,500 Dublin jobs over five years

The company has seen significant growth in contactless and e-commerce transactions during the lockdown

Mastercard has said it intends to proceed with plans to create 1,500 jobs in Dublin over the next three to five years despite the Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mark Barnett, who has just been appointed president of Mastercard's European business, said while the company had been affected by the pandemic, it did not expect to see a long-term impact.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I honestly don’t see how Covid-19 will affect our plans for Ireland. Certainly there are no plans afoot to change anything.”

Mr Barnett, – who was previously head of Mastercard's UK, Ireland, the Nordics and Baltics division – succeeds Javier Perez in June.


Mastercard announced a significant expansion in the Republic in late February, with investments in its artificial intelligence, cyber security, blockchain, and user-experience teams here.

It also said it intended to take additional office space at One and Two South County, a newly-built campus site in Leopardstown, south Dublin, located not far from its current home.

The second largest payments company globally has had a base in Ireland since late 2008, following its $100 million (€92m) acquisition of Irish firm Orbiscom. It has significantly grown its Irish business in recent years after deciding to locate much of its research and development work in Ireland. The company now employs about 650 people locally.

“Ireland is going to continue playing a very strategic role for Mastercard,” said Mr Barnett.

He said spending on the company’s payments network had stabilised over the last month after seeing a decline in transactions following the introduction of lockdowns across the continent from early March onwards.

“It looks like we hit the bottom of the curve about three weeks ago in most parts of Europe, and we’re now in what we call a normalisation process which we expect to run through till the end of 2020. And then we will hopefully be moving back into growth next year.

“We actually grew in the first quarter of this year, up 3 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019. We would have been stronger but the impact [of Covid-19] had started to kick in.”


Mr Barnett said during lockdown Mastercard has seen significant growth in contactless and e-commerce transactions, both of which are up 40 per cent quarter-on-quarter. “Trends that were already happening, such as contactless displacing cash and e-commerce growing, have jumped.”

Although the company has been focused on developing new solutions – with much of that R&D work done in Dublin – Mr Barnett said there were still huge opportunities for Mastercard to grow its core business, which is debit, credit-pre-paid and commercial.

“Across Europe about 50 per cent of transactions are still done in cash, and in some markets in the south and in Germany it is even more so. There is still a lot of headroom for our core business,” he said.

Mastercard is expected to take up occupancy in One South County by the end of the year, with further plans for Two South County when it is completed.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist