This week, leading private sector, government and civil society representatives are gathering at the Center for Financial Services Innovation’s (CFSI) 7th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum to discuss the latest strategies to reduce the number of the financially underserved in the U.S. As part of our global commitment to advance financial inclusion, Visa is pleased to sponsor the event and contribute to the best practices and payments expertise being shared through speaking on two panels: “Putting the Consumer First: Designing, Delivering, and Identifying Quality in Prepaid” and “Connecting with the Consumer: Branding Strategies for building Trust with the Underbanked Consumer.”
Around the world, an estimated 2.5 billion adults—primarily in developing countries—lack access to formal financial services. However, financial exclusion is not a challenge absent from even some of the world’s most advanced economies. Surprising to some, one in four U.S. households has little or no access to basic financial services. Without this access, the financially underserved are typically reliant on a cash-and-carry lifestyle, without a safe or convenient way to save money, pay their bills or get paid.
Visa is committed to being a part of the financial inclusion solution. At the core of our commitment is our work with our clients to use our products, services and network to improve the lives of the underserved through access to electronic payments. In the U.S., we believe our reloadable prepaid cards provide an important channel for the underserved to gain access. These cards may be purchased by an individual, provided by a government agency for social aid or offered by an employer as a payroll option. Prepaid cards — often an individual’s first point of access to formal inclusion — offer a safe, reliable and convenient way for people to pay, get paid, store and manage their money.
Beyond our products and network, Visa complements our inclusion commitment by engaging in partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations and multi-lateral organizations to collaborate on strategies and initiatives that address many of the challenges to greater inclusion, such as our involvement in the programs of CFSI. We also deliver extensive financial literacy programs throughout the U.S., as we believe that having the knowledge to understand and use a financial tool responsibly is as important as having access to the product itself. Visa’s financial literacy programs, like Practical Money Skills for Life, help U.S. consumers become more financially savvy by providing free educational resources, including personal finance articles, games and lesson plans.
Financial inclusion in the U.S. is a national challenge not to be overlooked. As leaders this week and throughout the year discuss new strategies and innovation designed to close the financial inclusion gap, Visa remains committed to working with our partners to develop solutions to this important social and economic issue.
Posted by: Brian Triplett, Head of Commercial & North America Prepaid, Visa on June 15, 2012 at 8:36 am