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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Transforming Aid Distribution through Innovation

_WEN0365At the recent MasterCard Innovation Forum 2015, MasterCard showcased the MasterCard Aid Network, which allows anything from food and medicine to shelter to be distributed even in the absence of a telecommunications infrastructure.

There are numerous logistical challenges to delivering supplies to many thousands, especially when there’s structural devastation and community displacement. Traditional paper voucher systems require manually filling in forms and repeated identity checks. Reports on what aid has been delivered, and where, might take days to pull together.

Our solution, a chip-enabled card, can be pre-loaded with a parcel of eligible physical goods and distributed to populations in need. Participating merchants are equipped with a visual, user-friendly terminal. Beneficiaries only need to provide their card, select the desired items, such as weekly groceries, by tapping the corresponding photos on a screen, and entering a PIN to safely confirm their transaction and receive their goods.

There are numerous benefits to the MasterCard Aid Network:

  1. Once a card has been provided to the recipient they can make choices about what they need most, as opposed to taking whatever has been provided that day
  2. The card helps to support the local economy, by enabling people to use it at local shops, which are then reimbursed by the aid organizations
  3. Charity workers can track the use of the cards to monitor supply and demand creating reports using the data available in a matter of hours
  4. The card can be used to verify the identity of the aid recipient, which helps to prevent corruption and increases transparency
  5. The card can operate in remote, inaccessible locations without the need for connectivity, which means humanitarian aid can be provided quickly, anywhere, anytime

Nearly 60 million people around the world displaced by conflict in 2014, and 218 million people a year are affected by natural disasters.

MasterCard’s CSR efforts began life through the provision of emergency relief after major natural disasters in countries around the world. While our CSR strategy has evolved since then to focus on enabling financial inclusion and encouraging entrepreneurship, as a global company, we still see it as our responsibility to provide support to those facing imminent disaster.

With the MasterCard Aid Network, organizations now have a technology solution that has been proven to work on the ground and it will soon be rolled out in more locations where relief is so urgently needed.

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