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January 11, 2022

On the wires

Thunes Partners With the World Economic Forum to Power Innovation in Payments Infrastructure

Thunes , a Singapore-based fintech company and a global leader in cross-border payments, announced today a collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to address systemic inequality in accessing financial services by driving innovation across payments and market infrastructures. As a collaborator of the WEF’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Financial and Monetary Systems , Thunes will engage with the WEF Financial community to provide strategic insights, identify gaps and best practices, and contribute to the development of policies and programmes that will help address financial inclusion and sustainable development.”

November 15, 2021

On the wires

Mastercard Partners With City of New Orleans and MoCaFi to Announce ‘Crescent City Card’ Program

“New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by executives from Mastercard, Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi), and Forward Together New Orleans to announce the Crescent City Card Program. The program involves of a series of initiatives and products to offer financial inclusion, access to emergency disbursements, incentives to drive economic growth, empower underbanked residents, and provide better access to City services such as NORD recreation centers, parks, libraries, and public transportation.”

October 7, 2021

On the wires

Mastercard and Citi Expand Partnership to Further Financial Inclusion and Sustainability Efforts

“Mastercard and Citi today announced a new partnership to support local residents and small businesses through greater public-private sector collaboration. Through City Possible , Mastercard’s partnership and co-creation framework for cities, the two global leaders will bring their collective resources, expertise, and integrated urban development frameworks to the City Possible network.”

July 21, 2021

On the wires

Cincinnati Family Tech Pay Theory Announces Launch of Its Cash Acceptance Tool

Pay Theory , a Cincinnati-based startup that provides payment solutions for school districts, childcare, and families, is excited to announce the launch of its cash payments tool to simplify the burden of making school-related payments for the roughly 30 percent of K–12 families in the US who are un- or underbanked. The Pay Theory in-person cash payments function allows users to complete digital payment transactions in the analog world without having to have a credit card. When making a school-related payment online, users can select the “pay cash” option. They will then be issued a barcode that can be scanned by a cashier just like any other coupon. The bill can be paid in cash right along with groceries or a prescription pickup.”

July 19, 2021

On the web

Serena Williams Invests in Rent-reporting Fintech Esusu


“Serena Williams is investing an undisclosed amount in Esusu , a fintech start-up that allows renters to build and improve credit by reporting their rent payments to credit bureaus. The tennis superstar provided the backing through her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures , as part of the start-up’s first funding round… “Esusu is an excellent example of an innovative fintech company leveraging technology to deliver scalable and much-needed financial solutions for underserved populations,” Motley Fool Ventures managing director Ollen Douglass said in a release. “Their inclusive credit building offerings can unlock access to credit for low-to-medium income households across the country.”  Esusu was founded in 2018 by Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel, who saw their immigrant families struggle to pay for rent and build credit after moving to the United States.”

July 16, 2021

On the web

Giant Food Accepts Online Federal Benefit Payments

Chain Store Age

“A regional grocer is now accepting federal EBT SNAP payments for eligible items for online in-store pickup and curbside pickup orders. Consumers using federal SNAP benefits (popularly known as food stamps) now have the option to pay with an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card when placing online orders for in-store pickup and delivery at 147 stores located throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.”

July 12, 2021

On the wires

More Than 100 Bank On Nationally Certified Accounts, At Institutions Comprising 52% Of National Deposit Market Share, Can Help Residents Receive Child Tax Credit And Other Emergency Payments

“The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced today that there are now more than 100 bank and credit union accounts nationally certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards . Banks and credit unions offering certified accounts comprise over 50% of the U.S. deposit market share, and 40% of all US bank branches offer a certified account; nearly two million Bank On certified accounts were opened in 2019… Bank On works to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. The Bank On National Account Standards identify critical product features for appropriate bank or credit union accounts, making it easier for local coalitions across the country to connect consumers to accounts that meet their needs. Core account features include low costs, no overdraft fees, robust transaction capabilities such as a debit or prepaid card, and online bill pay.”

July 8, 2021

On the web

BlocPal And OneFeather Team to Deliver Services Via Mobile Wallets to Canada’s Indigenous People

Digital Transactions

“As part of its goal to provide unbanked and underbanked consumers affordable digital access to financial services through a single application, BlocPal International Inc. has partnered with OneFeather, a Victoria, British Columbia-based provider of digital services to indigenous people in Canada, to introduce the OneFeather app in that country. The app is intended to be a single platform for access to myriad digital services such as banking, election and voting services, data sovereignty and community engagement among indigenous people, says Sushant Trivedi, chief marketing officer for Vancouver, British Columbia-based BlocPal.”

July 7, 2021

On the wires

FDIC Chairman discusses innovation in banking

“McWilliams discussed the FDIC’s multi-pronged approach to tackle the issue of financial inclusion, which includes: (i) looking at financial innovations in the private sector; (ii) taking steps, including hosting tech sprints, to identify solutions; (iii) coordinating with Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions; and (iv) conducting targeted public awareness campaigns on the importance of having a banking relationship. In explaining the initiatives, McWilliams pointed out that encouraging the use of alternative data that is not usually found in consumer credit files can “help firms evaluate the creditworthiness of consumers who might not otherwise have access to credit in the mainstream credit system.””

June 23, 2021

On the web

MAJORITY Raises $19 Million for Its Mobile Banking Service for Migrants


“More than a million people migrate to the U.S. each year. Upon their arrival, they face challenges in opening a local bank account and accessing financial services at regular rates. These challenges for migrants, a significant portion of whom also need to send money home, have persisted globally for decades, despite large government support programs . Now an entrepreneur, who in his previous venture fought exorbitant phone tariff charges to help people make phone calls at low-cost, believes he has found the solution — and definitely a vote of confidence from investors.”

FedAccounts Billed As Gift to Bankers. Many Are Dubious.

American Banker

“Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown has spent months advocating for his legislation to offer all consumers free government-backed digital bank accounts available through bank branches and U.S. Postal Service offices. While the proposal has been met with widespread opposition from the banking industry, Brown argues the legislation will not only bring new customers into bank branches, but also help smaller banks build their technology infrastructure… Brown’s bill would give all consumers access to free digital bank accounts, known as FedAccounts, that would be held at the Federal Reserve and accessible at bank branches and post offices. Fed-member banks would be required to offer the accounts, and nonmember banks have the option to do so, also. The Fed would reimburse banks with assets under $10 billion each quarter for the costs they incur to set up and operate the accounts; the amount of reimbursement has not been specified.”

June 21, 2021

On the web

FDIC Announces Tech Competition to Reach Unbanked | ABA Banking Journal

ABA Banking Journal

“The FDIC announced a competition today for companies to explore new technologies for banks to meet the needs of unbanked individuals. The “tech sprint” asks participants to identify better tools to help banks get unbanked households into the banking system and keep them banked. The FDIC is inviting banks, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and private sector companies to participate. Organizations will have two weeks to submit applications requesting participation, after a review of submissions, the FDIC will invite a select number of teams to participate. Selected teams will have three weeks to work on their proposed solution and then the FDIC will host a demo day, inviting teams to make short presentations to a panel of experts who will evaluate their submission.”

June 2, 2021

On the web

Mastercard Details Financial Inclusion Plans for Latin America

Mobile ID World

Mastercard is doubling down on its commitment to financial inclusion. The company has already brought 500 formerly unbanked people into the modern financial ecosystem to fulfill a five-year goal, and is now looking to raise that number to 1 billion people (and 50 million small businesses) before the end of 2025.   To get there, Mastercard is planning to make a major push in Latin America in particular . The financial giant recently launched a new initiative in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that will seek to bring digital capabilities to 5 million people and 1 million small businesses in the Northern Triangle region.”

May 28, 2021

On the web

Monetary Authority Of Singapore (MAS) Joins Mojaloop Foundation For Financial Inclusion


“The Monetary Authority of Singapore(MAS) is joining the Mojaloop Foundation, the first central bank to send a director to serve as an advisor to the board of the foundation which supports financial inclusion in developing countries, primarily in Africa and South Asia. MAS is both Singapore’s central bank and its integrated financial regulator. The foundation’s announcement said that Mojaloop will benefit from Singapore’s policy development perspectives and technical guidance. Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS, will serve as an adviser to the Mojaloop Foundation’s Board of Directors and Alan Lim, division head of the MAS FinTech Infrastructure Office, will serve on Mojaloop’s technical governing board.”

May 24, 2021

On the web

PM Khan to Launch Ehsaas’ Mobile Saving Wallets Initiative

Global Village Space

“Prime Minister, Imran Khan will visit an Ehsaas Kafaalat payment site in Islamabad to inaugurate the Ehsaas Saving Wallets (Ehsaas Bachat Bank Account) initiative. According to a press release issued here Sunday, the financial and digital inclusion of seven million households is one of the seven overarching goals of the Ehsaas Strategy. Ehsaas Saving Wallets (ESWs) initiative is predicated on the understanding that digital and financial inclusion will open avenues for women to take better advantage of opportunities offered under the Ehsaas National Poverty Graduation Initiative.”

May 18, 2021

On the wires

Wells Fargo Launches Banking Inclusion Initiative to Accelerate Unbanked Households’ Access to Affordable Transactional Accounts

“Wells Fargo today announced the Banking Inclusion Initiative , a 10-year commitment to help unbanked individuals gain access to affordable, mainstream, digitally-enabled transactional accounts – a meaningful entry point to fully participating in the economy and achieving financial stability. The initiative will focus on reaching unbanked communities and, in particular, helping remove barriers to financial inclusion for Black and African American, Hispanic, and Native American/Alaska Native families, which account for more than half of America’s 7 million unbanked households1. It also will assist those who are underbanked or underserved – individuals who may have a bank account yet continue to use high cost, non-bank services and have similar needs.”

May 13, 2021

On the web

New Committee to Advance Safe, Efficient, Inclusive Payments

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

“The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta announces the formation of a Special Committee on Payments Inclusion focused on finding solutions for cash-reliant individuals to become better connected to the economy, including to innovative financial services. The committee, a public- and private-sector collaboration sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, will work to advance ubiquitous access to safe, efficient, and inclusive payments for everyone. Payments innovations such as digital wallets, mobile payments, and person-to-person payment apps offer convenience to many consumers and businesses, but they also raise concerns about how to include populations already marginally attached to the economy. This collaboration of payments and financial inclusion experts will conduct research on emerging issues in payments inclusion, collect and analyze data to better understand trends in the evolving payments ecosystem, and make recommendations to the industry and policymakers based on research findings.”

April 30, 2021

On the web

The True Cost of Being Underbanked – Payments Views

Payments Views

“It’s expensive to be a low income American, driven in part by the high cost of financial services available to such consumers. In this post, we break down where cost comes from, and how fintechs are changing the way working class Americans are able to access affordable financial products. Fintechs have an opportunity to displace the traditional, high-cost services that target low income consumers. Through the consumer profiles we discuss in this piece, we can see that using fintech products instead of traditional services has a material impact on the financial wellbeing of low-income consumers.”

April 26, 2021

On the web

How Welcome Tech Will Use $35 Million in Fresh Funding to Serve Unbanked Hispanics

Digital Transactions

“Welcome Tech, a provider of digital financial services to unbanked and underbanked Hispanics, plans to leverage $35 million in new funding it secured last week to grow its customer base by about 1 million and add more financial services, such as a pathway to credit, to help bring its customers into the mainstream of financial services. To date, Welcome Tech has raised $50 million.”

April 16, 2021

On the web

California Introduces Bill to Create Program for the Unbanked and Underbanked | Lexology


“Recently, the California legislature introduced AB 1177 —the California Public Banking Option Act—which would, if enacted, establish the Public Banking Opinion Board and task the Board with designing, implementing, and overseeing a program for consumers in the state who lack access to traditional banking services. Specifically, the bill would create the BankCal Program, which would protect unbanked and underbanked consumers from predatory, discriminatory, and costly alternatives by providing “access to voluntary, zero-fee, zero-penalty, federally insured transaction account and debit card services at no cost to account holders.””

April 13, 2021

On the web

How Can Open Finance Help Indonesia’s Unbanked?

Tech Wire Asia

“One hundred and thirty million: that is the number of adults within Indonesia who do not use traditional bank accounts to access financial services such as loans and credit cards. Instead, they utilize fintech services ranging from digital wallets to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending to fulfill their financial needs. Now, Bank Indonesia (BI) and the financial services authority in Southeast Asia’s biggest market are formulating provisions in a new framework to welcome the open finance era, looking to achieve the Payment System Vision of Indonesia goals by 2025.”

April 8, 2021

On the web

California Bill Would Create Free Banking Services for State’s Residents

Banking Dive

“California lawmakers are backing a bill to create BankCal, a government program that would offer a “zero-fee, zero-penalty” consumer banking option to the state’s residents. The measure is aimed at “protecting consumers who lack access to traditional banking services from predatory, discriminatory, and costly alternatives.” Assembly Bill 1177, which lawmakers and advocates unveiled last week, would establish a Public Banking Option Board, which would partner with financial institutions to offer the free accounts. California employers with five or more employees would be required to facilitate direct deposit, when requested, into the account.”

March 25, 2021

On the web

Digital Banking Startup Greenwood Raises $40 Million From Big Banks


“Atlanta-based Greenwood, a digital banking startup designed for Black and Latino consumers and businesses, said on Thursday that it had raised $40 million from a host of U.S. financial institutions. They included Truist Financial Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp , Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc. The startup will use the cash injection to build the business, with plans to launch its first products this summer, Ryan Glover, Greenwood’s Chairman and co-founder said in an interview.”

March 24, 2021

On the web

Nigerian Fintech of the Unbanked Bankly Raises $2M Led by Vault


“Nigeria remains a largely cash-dominated country. There are over 100 million adult Nigerians, of which more than half have little or no access to financial services.  Today, Bankly , a Nigerian fintech startup digitizing cash for the unbanked, announced that it has closed a $2 million seed round. Founded by Tomilola Adejana and Fredrick Adams in 2018, Bankly is digitizing the informal thrift collections system known with different names such as esusu or ajo in Nigeria.”

March 18, 2021

On the wires

March 8, 2021

On the web

Bank On Boston Partnership To Support Unbanked And Under Banked Boston Residents

North End, MA Patch

“As part of the Walsh Administration’s work to reduce racial and economic disparities in banking access, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) today announced that its Bank On Boston initiative has partnered with USALLIANCE Financial to design a free, easy-to-use checking account that meets the needs of Boston’s unbanked and underbanked residents. With the creation of Dora Everyday Checking , USALLIANCE Financial becomes the first regional financial institution to meet Bank On national account standards for safety and affordability.”

March 5, 2021

On the web

Arcus Announces Arcus Pay: Payment Track That Converts Points Of Sale Into ATMs


Arcus, the leading fintech platform that makes financial technology possible for everyone, announces the launch of Arcus Pay, a payment track through which a network of 60 thousand retail points of sale will offer Cash-in and Cash-out transactions for consumers of fintechs and neobanks. Arcus Pay allows you to transform physical money into digital money and make cash deposits, cash withdrawals and payment of products in physical stores with money from digital wallets. Companies will be able to provide banking-like services to the underbanked or unbanked population, thus paving the way for financial inclusion.”

March 1, 2021

On the web

Digital Finance: EVOLET Driving Financial Inclusion in Malaysia

The Edge Markets

“Last March, which was roughly a year after he had the conversation with the migrant worker, Yu launched EVOLET, a secure digital wallet with a complimentary pre-paid Mastercard service as an alternative to bank accounts for migrant workers. Convenience for workers aside, the digital wallet — licensed by Bank Negara Malaysia — is fashioned first as a payroll management tool, which is an immense cost-saving service for employers, as disbursement of cash is very costly and oftentimes perilous.”

February 26, 2021

On the wires

Mobility Capital Finance Inc. Receives Capital Investment From Mastercard

“The inequities in today’s financial system have left many Americans without access to affordable services, instead relying on payday lending, expensive cash checking services and remittance fees. Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi ), a financial technology, mobile-first banking platform, and Mastercard are partnering to bring alternate financial services to underserved communities with a specific focus on providing tailored digital tools, and new payment cards to low wealth minority and Black communities. Mastercard has now furthered its commitment with a capital investment in MoCaFi.”

February 17, 2021

On the wires

Discover Recognized As The First Digital Bank To Meet Bank On’s Certification Standards

Cashback Debit , the online checking account from Discover, was recently certified by the national nonprofit organization, Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund. The CFE Fund’s mission is to improve the financial stability of low and moderate income households by embedding financial empowerment strategies into local governments. The CFE Fund developed the Bank On National Account Standards, which support financial institutions’ efforts to connect consumers to secure and low-cost bank accounts. Discover is the first digital bank to meet the Bank On’s certification standards with the no fee1 Cashback Debit account.”

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