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The Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion is part of Mastercard’s broader commitment to connect 500 million people previously excluded from formal financial services through the use of public-private partnerships with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. We strongly believe that together we can improve access to and use of formal financial services, which will ultimately deliver more inclusive growth and empower people.

Why is the Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion important?

With two billion adults living without access to mainstream financial tools and services, there is an urgent need to speed up the creation of commercially viable products and services on a global scale.

Why is Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion located in Africa?

We believe that this region represents some of the most successful countries in terms of implementation and reach of digital financial services. While the Lab is based in Kenya, it does have both regional and global reach.

What is the Lab’s proven innovation methodology?

We have implemented a focused, practised and proven process that includes broad ideation as well as technical and business evaluation leading to prototyping, pilot execution and, finally, execution. At every step, we combine Mastercard best practices gained from operating in the payments arena for more than 50 years with leading-edge technologies.

What does it mean to be financially excluded?

When you are excluded, you don’t have access to the basic financial tools we take for granted, like saving or borrowing money or getting insurance. It means being stuck in a cash-based economy that makes you vulnerable to increased crime, inconvenience and higher costs.

What’s Mastercards strategy for meeting the challenge of financial inclusion?

Our approach to financial inclusion is not through corporate social responsibility or philanthropy. We address it by leveraging our existing digital payments technology and applying that through public and private partnerships.

What does a future where more people are financially included look like?

The future is a global economy that is closer to being truly global because we’re more connected digitally and less dependent on cash. Increasing financial inclusion:

  • expands the middle class
  • generates equal opportunities
  • increases social engagement and economic mobility
  • narrows income inequality
  • empowers people