Pitching in to help with the economic after-effects of the still-spreading SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, Mastercard (MA 2.73%) announced a new initiative to help small businesses. The payment card giant said it is committing $250 million to help fund efforts supporting such enterprises, many of which are struggling in the face of the coronavirus and will likely continue to do so.

Much of this assistance will take the form of Mastercard providing resources and direct support. The company will offer cyber vulnerability assessments, in addition to providing its identity theft protection services. Both will be free of charge to qualifying businesses for three months.  

These businesses will also be able access to the company's Local Market Intelligence analysis tool.

All told, around 28 million enterprises eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program run by the U.S. Small Business Administration can take advantage of these offerings.

A hand using a payment card with a reader.

Image source: Mastercard.

"When our small businesses suffer our nation suffers, so it is incumbent upon all to ensure that we're supporting the businesses who are the lifeblood of our economy and pillars of our communities," Mastercard said.

The company added that "[w]e are leveraging our network, insights, technology and partnerships to deliver the resources small business owners need now to help them sustain their business as they quickly adapt to a new way of operating and evolved customer needs."

Although Mastercard's work in this regard is charitable, the company stands to be a beneficiary if the small business sector recovers. These days, most small business rely on credit card transactions for at least some of their revenue, so the healthier their finances, the better Mastercard and its peers will do.

The company's shares had a good day on Wednesday. They rose by 4.7%, beating the gains of numerous other top stocks and the key equity market indexes.