Electronic Payments Offer Greatest Hope for Financial Inclusion-

 MasterCard CEO Highlights Public-Private Partnerships at Global Forum


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LONDON, UK October 28, 2013 –  As government, NGO and business leaders gather at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum in London, MasterCard president and CEO Ajay Banga emphasized the central role electronic payments play for advancing financial access. “Today’s payments technology – prepaid and mobile coupled with biometrics – brings millions of people access to financial tools for the first time, enabling them to live more secure, empowered and included lives.”

A recent study conducted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and McKinsey, Fighting Poverty, Profitably, found that only countries with relatively widespread access to electronic payment systems achieve high levels of financial inclusion. Countries where more than 70 percent of people can pay electronically, financial inclusion is over 85 percent.

This year alone, together with its partners, MasterCard launched more than ten programs around the world which are designed to bring financial access to over 350 million people:

  • In Nigeria, the government launched a national ID program that combines a biometric identification solution with a prepaid payment functionality powered by MasterCard and is the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.
  • In Lebanon, we partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme to roll out an innovative electronic voucher programme that will allow hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to meet their food needs and help boost the local economy.
  • In Egypt, we partnered with the National Bank of Egypt and Etisalat to unveil the first Arabic mobile money program that enables subscribers to transfer money via their phone.
  • In Brazil, our joint venture with Telefonica created Zuum, a mobile money solution to make deposits or transfers and pay bills easily and securely.
  • In India, we collaborated with Beam to launch a mobile companion prepaid card that allows mobile wallet consumers to transact at physical merchants, online and access ATMs.
  • In Myanmar, one year after the easing of U.S. sanctions, the country continues to increase access to electronic payments for consumers and merchants.
  • In South Africa, we worked with Blue Label Telecom to open up electronic payment acceptance in less fortunate or excluded areas.
  • In Turkey, together with the Turkish Government and DenizBank, we introduced a new Social Aid Card to bring innovation and efficiency to Turkey’s welfare service.

This year has also marked a significant milestone in MasterCard’s partnership with SASSA and Net1 to digitize social grant benefits.  Earlier this year, the program surpassed 10 million SASSA Debit MasterCard cards delivering benefits to 22 million people.  Through this program, there are now 5 million financially included South Africans who were considered financially excluded just 18 months ago.

MasterCard seeks to advance efforts to expand financial inclusion through its contribution of research and thought leadership that includes:

  • Challenging perceptions that financial inclusion is only a developing world issue through the Road to Inclusion study that shines a spotlight on the millions of excluded and financially underserved in Europe;
  • Partnering with the Center for Financial Inclusion on the Mapping the Invisible Markets project as part of the broader FI 2020 Initiative, yielding tremendous insights on the impact demographic shifts and rising incomes are having on financial inclusion;
  • Joining the Better Than Cash Alliance, an organization that works with governments, the development community and the private sector to move towards electronic payments in emerging economies as a pathway to greater financial access; and

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.


Media Contact: 

Ryan Erenhouse


(914) 249 – 3176


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