BUSI­NESS MasterCard launches data fa­cil­ity to ben­e­fit peo­ple liv­ing in poverty

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

THE MasterCard Foun­da­tion has launched a five- year, $ 9.6 mil­lion ( R134m) in­vest­ment aimed at im­prov­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions’ un­der­stand­ing of the mil­lions of un­banked peo­ple in the world.

The foun­da­tion on Thurs­day an­nounced the creation of data hub In­sight to Im­pact (i2i) in part­ner­ship with FinMark Trust, the Joburg-based Cen­tre for Fi­nan­cial Reg­u­la­tion and In­clu­sion and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion at the MasterCard Foun­da­tion Sym­po­sium on Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion that ran in Cape Town on Novem­ber 19 and 20.

A lack of re­li­able data on how and why poor peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in­ter­act with fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and how they would like to in­ter­act has been an ob­sta­cle on the road to fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion.

The new ini­tia­tive aims to take fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion to the next level by help­ing in­sti­tu­tions to strengthen client cen­tric­ity by de­sign­ing and de­liv­er­ing ser­vices for peo­ple liv­ing in poverty that are more se­cure, con­ve­nient and af­ford­able.

The data fa­cil­ity will gather, ag­gre­gate and sup­port the use of the lat­est, high-qual­ity data on how poor peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries per­ceive fi­nan­cial ser­vices. The in­for­ma­tion will in­clude in­sights on how they save, bor­row and trans­fer money, and what im­pedes them from do­ing so.

The project aims to demon­strate how fi­nan­cial ser­vice providers can draw cus­tomer in­sights from cur­rent data sets and use them to design and of­fer ser­vices that meet clients’ needs. It will also de­velop and dis­sem­i­nate new ap­proaches for mea­sur­ing fi­nan­cial ac­cess and use.

“Banks and other fi­nan­cial ser­vice providers to­day, more than ever, need to be re­spon­sive to clients to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves and re­main rel­e­vant,” said Ann Miles, di­rec­tor of pro­grammes, fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and youth liveli­hoods at The MasterCard Foun­da­tion.

“i2i is an im­por­tant, col­lab- ora­tive ef­fort to help the in­dus­try im­prove not just the range and rel­e­vance of fi­nan­cial prod­ucts and ser­vices, but also en­hance clients’ ex­pe­ri­ences and sat­is­fac­tion with ser­vices be­ing of­fered to them.”

Dr Prega Ram­samy, chief ex­ec­u­tive of FinMark Trust, said i2i would “catal­yse in­no­va­tion for tai­lor- made so­lu­tions to meet client needs”.

Herman Smit, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of Cen­fri and in­terim lead of i2i, said: “In most de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, lim­ited in­sights on new con­sumer seg­ments un­der­mine the abil­ity of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor to best serve them. We be­lieve through this pi­o­neer­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion we can work with fi­nan­cial ser­vice providers to im­prove our un­der­stand­ing of how they can best serve these new con­sumer seg­ments.” – ANA

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