Women's World Banking announced today that it has joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, committing to work with its 39 network members in 28 countries around the globe to ensure that at least one million low-income people shift to electronic money channels in the next five years.
"We are thrilled to join the Better Than Cash Alliance and embark on this journey to give one million low-income people better access to financial tools through electronic money channels," said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking. "Through decades of research on the financial lives of women, we know women clients especially value ease of access, privacy and control over their finances and electronic money channels bring these features to financial products."
Two and a half billion adults — more than half the world's adult population — are excluded from the formal financial sector. This gap is most acute in the developing world where approximately 80 percent of people living in poverty are excluded. As a result, most poor households have no option but to subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy. Electronic payments can create lasting benefits for people by creating opportunities to access formal financial services, build assets and save for the future.
In emerging economies, women are 20 percent less likely than men to have an account at a formal financial institution and 17 percent less likely to have access to credit according to Global Findex. Women's World Banking has worked with financial institutions for more than 35 years to provide women with access to financial services that meet their needs. Joining the Better Than Cash Alliance is part of the organization's commitment to ensuring that women have access to safe, innovative and sustainable financial tools to help them manage their money and save for the future and, by extension, enhance their financial security and personal dignity.
Women's World Banking has a tradition of pairing with leaders in the financial world to ensure women are provided the products that are most relevant and accessible to them. With support from Visa and EFInA, Women's World Banking recently partnered with Diamond Bank, a large commercial bank in Nigeria, to create an innovative savings product that eliminates the barriers preventing low-income Nigerians from accessing formal financial services. Two key channels for delivering this savings product are a mobile money platform developed by the bank specifically tailored to low-income clients as well as debit and ATM card offerings. These electronic channels address the clients' expressed need for convenience, security, confidentiality and flexibility for their savings accounts to work for their lifestyles.
"We are delighted that Women's World Banking is now a member of the Alliance," said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of the Better Than Cash Alliance. "The organization is a global leader in designing and delivering appropriate and affordable financial services for women in developing and emerging economies through their affiliate network. There is no better way to enhance women's economic inclusion than by ensuring women have access to electronic means of payment that are confidential, convenient, easy to manage, and also give access to a range of other financial services. We look forward to supporting Women's World Banking's efforts and sharing their expertise with our broader Alliance members."
The Better Than Cash Alliance is an alliance of governments, the private sector and development organizations who are committed to a global movement away from cash to the use of electronic payments. The Alliance advocates for the shift from cash to electronic payments and provides support to those who commit to making the transition.
Women's World Banking joins the governments of Afghanistan, Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, Peru and the Philippines along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme, ACDI/VOCA, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, Chemonics International, Concern Worldwide, Grameen Foundation, MEDA, Mercy Corps, and World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI). All these organizations are also committed to increasing their electronic payments, and eligible to receive support from the Better Than Cash Alliance.
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About Better Than Cash Alliance
The Better Than Cash Alliance partners with governments, the development community and the private sector to empower people by shifting from cash to electronic payments. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, USAID and Visa Inc. are funders and the U.N. Capital Development Fund serves as the secretariat. To learn more, visit www.betterthancash.org, follow @BetterThan_Cash and subscribe for news.
About Women's World Banking
Women's World Banking is the global non-profit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources essential to their security and prosperity. For more than 35 years we have worked with financial institutions to show them the benefit of investing in women as clients, and as leaders. We equip these institutions to meet women's needs through authoritative market research, leadership training, sustainable financial products and consumer education. Headquartered in New York, Women's World Banking works with 39 institutions in 28 countries with a reach of 14 million women to create access to finance on a greater scale that ever before. For more information, visit www.womenswworldbanking.org, follow via Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter at @womensworldbkng.