Mastercard is expanding its Mastercard Send service to assist businesses process refunds faster.

The service, which can be integrated with common payment services such as ‘buy now pay later’, is able to connect with virtually all parts of the Asia-Pacific and includes Mastercard and non-Mastercard debit cards.

The service will reduce the typical two to 90 day processing time for refund payments to almost instant.

“A concise and clear return policy and hassle-free refund process gives consumers security,” Mastercard vice-president of products and innovation for Australasia, Surin Fernando said in a statement.

“If a retailer doesn’t give this guarantee, then consumers often become suspicious and avoid buying the product, demotivating the consumer to return to that retailer again.

“With Mastercard Send, customers can have more confidence that their refund will be processed securely and safely, enhancing their experience with retailers.”

Mastercard says the innovation has come about due to the surge in online retailing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an increase in online transactions highlighting the need for more efficient returns system.

The 2021 Australian Post ecommerce industry report found that 52% of low-frequency online shoppers shopped online more in 2020 and 80% of high-frequency shoppers maintained or increased their online shopping frequency.

Mastercard Send also has the potential to reduce operational costs, by removing the need for customers to enquire about refund statuses, and for businesses to respond.

“It will help retailers showcase a more customer-centric mindset by helping customers process their refunds faster, effectively and eliminating friction, refund fraud and creating more efficiency around the process of buying / returning goods and services,” Fernando said.