Cashless Pioneers: Every Transaction Has a Story
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Financial Inclusion: Breaking Down the Numbers

For many of us, using a credit or debit card is as ubiquitous as email or texting … how did we ever survive without?  Easy for me to say, but there are still billions of people worldwide that lack access to financial services; many still suffering with the inefficiency of cash and checks. 

I  was fortunate to attend the World Bank – IMF Spring Meeting side event jointly hosted by the World Bank and Government of Mexico  “Financial Inclusion: From Principles to Action.”  The primary focus was to discuss strategies to create greater financial inclusion, and it was there that the Global FINDEX , which measures how people in 148 countries save, borrow, make payments and manage risk, was released.

What I learned, and what I continue to ruminate on is that despite all the innovation and growth we’ve seen in the retail payments industry over the past 20 years, there’s still an opportunity to do more.

  • Roughly 2.5 billion people globally still lack access to financial services.
  • Of this number, 2.37 billion reside in developing countries.
  • Globally, 65% of unbanked adults who do not use financial accounts cite: lack of money, suitability of financial products and services or high costs.
  • 90% of adults in high-income countries and only 42% of adults in developing countries can be considered financially included.

So what does all this mean for MasterCard?

We’ve made a good start, successfully creating products and services for the unbanked – like prepaid cards and mobile banking.  Now we have a chance to make a bigger impact, by partnering with governments and by getting actively involved in shaping the global policy dialogue on financial inclusion. Together we can reach the billions who remain outside the financial mainstream, all while keeping our guiding principles in place.

  • Keeping payments safe, simple and smart
  • Addressing the needs of the underserved through partnerships and investments
  • Delivering financial education through proprietary programs and tools
  • Leveraging our Corporate Philanthropy Strategy to financially support programs that promote financial inclusion through entrepreneurship

Tell us, what are your thoughts on financial inclusion?