Mastercard joins Business Call to Action by expanding access to financial services in underserved communities worldwide
Istanbul, 27 September 2017 – Payments technology company Mastercard has joined Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to reach an additional 200 million people (500 million total) previously excluded from financial services by 2020, in line with World Bank’s goal of Universal Financial Access. By 2022, Mastercard also aims to connect 40 million micro- and small merchants to its electronic payment network in order to accelerate the adoption and use of its financial tools.
Launched in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than USD 8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Approximately 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to financial services, preventing them from accessing other services such as savings accounts, loans and insurance. Barriers to entering the formal economy include a lack of formal identification documents, limited physical access to banks, a lack of trust in the system and financial illiteracy.
For governments and NGOs delivering social assistance, cash and in-kind aid heighten the risk of fraud and waste, and suppress local markets. Cash economies in emergencies and development contexts inevitably create shadow economies fostering corruption, black markets, money laundering and tax evasion.
With the proliferation of mobile connectivity worldwide in recent years, the possibility of financial inclusion for all is growing every year. This includes enabling millions of small businesses – from which the majority of the world’s people obtain food and other critical items – to accept non-cash payments. But until recently, financial service providers have seen only limited success connecting hard-to-reach areas. This is because financial inclusion goes beyond access: to be successful, these services need to be widely utilized.
Mastercard has innovated a new way of working towards inclusion, partnering with small businesses, governments and others to increase financial literacy, ease the adoption of electronic payments and provide flexible point-of-sale technologies. For example, its Masterpass QR leverages QR codes to enable cost-effective electronic payments for micro-enterprises. In addition, the company has partnered with the International Finance Corporation to create a risk-sharing facility that increases small businesses’ access to financial services.
According to BctA Programme Manager Paula Peleaz, “True financial inclusion occurs when individuals and small businesses can use financial products to do what many of us take for granted – access needed goods and services, make a decent living and save for the future. Innovative financial services like those provided by Mastercard are creating inclusive ecosystems in which all partners – including individuals and small businesses – benefit and thrive.”
“A major pillar of our strategy is building effective public-private partnerships,” explained Ravi Aurora, Executive Director, Global Public Policy, Mastercard. “The private sector and public sector can each serve as a force for good independently; however, when the public and private sectors work together, they unlock the potential to achieve even more. That’s why we’ve committed to joining BCtA.”
As part of its BCtA commitment, Mastercard pledges to reach an additional 2 million people with humanitarian aid. With innovative products such as Mastercard Aid Network, aid organizations are assisting the world’s most vulnerable people while stimulating local economies. A robust business case and strategic partnerships are enabling Mastercard and its partners to be agents of transformative change, creating more inclusive economies and more empowered populations.
For further information:
BCtA: Aimee Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
BctA membership does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.
About Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, BCtA aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.