Mastercard and Obopay collaborate to launch a unique prepaid card to power financial inclusion in rural communities

February 21, 2023 | New Delhi, India

The card is specially designed to work both online and offline

Mastercard and Obopay today announced their collaboration to launch a financial inclusion card for smallholder farmers and rural communities. Powered by Mastercard’s Community Pass digital infrastructure, the prepaid card will allow farmers to receive the sale proceeds for their crop digitally, spend their earnings to make purchases even in remote locations that have poor or no connectivity, and build a transaction history based on their income and expenditure to access customized credit options.

The prepaid card will work in tandem with the existing Mastercard Farm Pass platform wherein the farmers will be able to receive payments into their prepaid card account, thereby allowing them to use it to transact at local outlets. Farm Pass is part of Mastercard’s broader Community Pass infrastructure.

While 80% of the rural population has bank accounts, the rural economy still runs on cash due to challenges around digital acceptance, connectivity, and branch banking experience. Prepaid cards have so far seen limited traction in rural areas owing to lack of inflows into the accounts. Digitizing the agriculture value chain can ensure that farmers can use their money to transact at merchant outlets in rural areas. The card solution developed by Mastercard and Obopay is unique as it has the ability to also work offline in remote areas, ensuring rural acceptance of digital payments for buying farm inputs, agriculture equipment, or other essentials.

Obopay will link the online Prepaid cards with offline digital wallets at the backend to ensure a seamless experience for users. This will result in digitization of farmer spend, while leveraging the existing acceptance points of sale in villages and semi-urban areas. By building a digital record of farmers spend and income, the solution will also facilitate customized credit. The card will target smallholder farmers, Self Help Group members, small buyers, traders, along with the adjacent rural ecosystem.

Shailendra Naidu, CEO, Obopay, said, “Digital payments can be a game changer for farmers in today’s technologically driven ecosystem. We are proud to collaborate with Mastercard and develop solutions that will empower farmers in a commercially sustainable way by helping them access online payments and credit.”

The offline wallet feature on the card will enable cash-in-cash-out transactions in non-network areas, making it a particularly relevant solution for farmers in remote areas who lack connectivity or cannot afford data. It will also allow farmers to securely receive and store money in multiple wallets on the card and ensure a consistent user experience across products.

Himanshu Bansal, VP, Digital and Financial Inclusion, Mastercard Community Pass, said, “Farmers in remote areas are often stifled by challenges related to connectivity, data speed, and complexities in using digital platforms. To address these concerns, Mastercard aims to empower them through solutions that are tailored to their needs and ensure transparency in the payments ecosystem. Research has shown that 50% of users who experience transaction failures during their first digital transaction go back to cash. Mastercard is delighted to collaborate with Obopay to digitally empower farmers and eliminate the credit access challenge.”

Mastercard recently achieved the milestone of benefiting over one million smallholder farmers in India through Farm Pass, its scalable rural and agriculture digitization solution. The launch of the digitally integrated financial inclusion card further strengthens the company’s commitment to digitize the rural ecosystem.

Media Contacts

Tarun Nagrani, Mastercard

About Obopay

Headquartered at Bangalore, OBOPAY help Corporates and Financial Institutions create new journeys to embed financial transactions and deliver a seamless experience for their customers. OBOPAY has provided comprehensive, industry-leading mobile payment solutions and expertise to some of the world’s leading brands globally across industries. We are an RBI licensed entity to offer Prepaid Payments Instruments in India, key offerings include Prepaid Wallets/Digital Account services and payment solutions. The company offers enterprises an integrated processing platform that is capable of linking multiple participants into a transaction network and digitize payments. A holistic payment ecosystem in itself, OBOPAY card caters to the needs of users, corporates and merchants and addresses multiple payment gaps that exist for corporates, distribution companies, EPC players, Healthcare industries etc.  
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About Community Pass

Community Pass, from Mastercard, offers an interoperable digital platform that facilitates transactions – from making micro payments at the merchant to tracking vaccines delivered by a healthcare clinic. By shifting manual and paper-based processes into digital transactions, the platform reduces the potential for errors, fraud and cost to serve, while improving data and visibility for service providers to properly inform resource allocation and programmatic decision-making – ultimately this increases access and unlocks the delivery of services. Community Pass enables this through proprietary products as well as integration with third-party technology solutions, all in a safe, secure and privacy-enhancing environment. 
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Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.