Jakarta, 26 October 2016Mastercard, Palang Merah Indonesia, and the American Red Cross have launched a pilot program to use Mastercard Send  to distribute funds digitally to families in Indonesia via their mobile phones. Families could use the funds to purchase water and other items during the drought season. The partnership marks the first expansion of Mastercard Send into the humanitarian sector.

While 2 billion people around the world currently lack access to a bank account, global mobile subscriptions reached a staggering 7.1 billion last year and are soon expected to surpass the world’s population. Not only is mobile technology a starting point for bringing those excluded into the financial mainstream, it is quickly becoming an effective tool for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“Our goal is to provide an innovative service that enables humanitarian and development organizations to distribute funds efficiently and digitally to their beneficiaries,” said Shari Krikorian, vice president, Digital Payments and Labs, Mastercard. “Using Mastercard Send, organizations like the American Red Cross can initiate and electronically control the distribution of aid funds end-to-end through a single interface.”

Mastercard Send leverages technology built for remittances services to connect to a wide network of mobile network operators, banks and money transfer organizations worldwide. The technology enables humanitarian organizations to deliver funds through different channels – payment cards, mobile money, bank accounts and cash-out agents – from anywhere in the world. In addition, with access to a mobile wallet or a payment card, beneficiaries can receive other types of payments such as electronic remittances from friends and family abroad via the same method.

Using Mastercard Send and the local telecommunications partner Indosat Ooredoo, through its product called ‘Dompetku Pengiriman Uang’, beneficiaries in Indonesia were able to receive funds from Palang Merah Indonesia and the American Red Cross into a registered mobile wallet, providing a safe and convenient way for them to access aid via a phone many of them already have. Receiving digital funds also gave them the control and flexibility to spend their aid money on what they need most.

For example, many of the recipients reported using their funds to purchase clean drinking water, groceries, hygiene supplies, and even help pay for their children’s education. One beneficiary said, “Sometimes families receive goods they might not use. [Digital money] allows people to buy what they need.”

“We were looking for a partner that could help us expands our aid delivery channels and reach a large number of beneficiaries effectively and securely,” said Tracy Reines, American Red Cross.  “We view mobile technology as an innovative mechanism to support cash transfer programs and are excited at the potential to use Mastercard Send as a way to improve the distribution of cash-based humanitarian aid.”

The partnership marks the latest in which Mastercard is using its technology to help international organizations improve the distribution of humanitarian aid to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those in impoverished and disaster-affected communities. To-date, the company has facilitated the electronic transfer of aid to over 2.5 million people and was recently recognized for these efforts on Fortune’s annual Change the World list.

Four Beneficiary Stories from the Partnership between Mastercard, Palang Merah Indonesia, and the American Red Cross in Bekasi, Indonesia:

  1. Jaiyah feels secure using mobile money

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Jaiyah, an entrepreneur and mother of two, sells snacks to a friend in Bekasi, Indonesia. Like many women in her neighborhood, Jaiyah has trouble accessing clean drinking water and has to buy all the water she drinks in bottles and jugs. To help her through a particularly difficult stretch, she received digital funds (about $67 USD) to purchase water, groceries, and inventory for her store, which, as she pointed out, would help increase her income, enabling her to buy even more water in the future. Jaiyah had never received money via mobile phone before, but was satisfied with the extra layer of safety, saying, “If the money is on a SIM card, I’m the only one who can see it’s there. And I’m the only one who knows it’s there.”

  1. Lusi uses the funds to buy water for her children

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross


Lusi and her husband are barely getting by on the income he makes cleaning air conditioners. Buying water every week is an expensive proposition. But they do it because they’re determined to keep their children — including 3-year old, Abidzar — hydrated and healthy. Lusi recently received two digital cash transfers via mobile phone. She chose to use the funds to buy water, diapers, baby formula, and school uniforms.



  1. Widea uses her mobile phone to buy essentials for her parents

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross

Widea, a recent high school graduate, uses her phone to text friends and take photos. Now she can add something new to that list: buying essentials for her parents. Unfortunately, Widea and her family don’t have access to potable water at home. She used the digital funds transferred via mobile phone to purchase water, rice, and hygiene supplies like soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. As Widea says, “Sometimes families receive goods they might not use. Cash allows people to buy what they need.”

  1. Ayumi prefers to receive funds through digital money rather than in-kind goods

Photo credit: Otto Ferdinand/American Red Cross


Essentials like rice, cooking oil, and clean drinking water aren’t always easy to afford for Ayumi, a resident of the Teluk Pucung neighborhood in Indonesia. Ayumi recently received digital funds on her son’s phone and decided to spend the money on water, food, and exam fees for her grandson. Ayumi appreciates the extra help in the form of digital cash – rather than in-kind goods – because it allows her to decide which expenses to prioritize.



About Mastercard

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Mastercard Communications Contact

Poully Gunharie, Mastercard Indonesia, +62 21 5790 0325


Dini Arista, Weber Shandwick, +62 21 5292 1874