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Thursday, October 31, 2013

MasterCard reports on global prepaid efforts

In an address at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Global Forum held in London Oct. 28 through 30, 2013, MasterCard Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga highlighted the central role prepaid accounts and mobile payments are playing in advancing financial access for millions of unbanked and underbanked people worldwide. "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," he said.

MasterCard cited a study conducted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and McKinsey & Co. that found only countries with relatively widespread access to electronic payment systems achieve high levels of financial inclusion. The report, Fighting Poverty, Profitably, said countries where over 70 percent of its people can pay electronically, over 85 percent of those populations are holders of some form of electronic financial account.

In 2013, MasterCard has launched over 10 financial inclusion programs with its financial partners, including:

  • Nigeria: A national ID program that combines a biometric identification with prepaid payment functionality (considered the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind in Africa)
  • Lebanon: An electronic voucher program designed to allow hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to meet food needs and help boost the local economy
  • Egypt: A first-of-its-kind person-to-person money transfer program
  • Brazil: A mobile money solution used to deposit funds, make money transfers and pay bills
  • India: A mobile prepaid card program that allows mobile wallet users to transact at physical merchants, online and access ATM
  • Myanmar: "[O]ne year after the easing of U.S. sanctions, the country continues to increase access to electronic payments for consumers and merchants," MasterCard said.
  • South Africa: Opened up electronic payment acceptance in rural areas
  • Turkey: A government benefit card for welfare recipients

MasterCard said its financial access programs are designed to bring electronic financial services to over 350 million people worldwide. end of article

Editor's Note:

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