BUSINESS MasterCard launches data facility to benefit people living in poverty
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