Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Jun 10, 2013


Advancing Financial Inclusion on the Global Stage: IDB Base II Forum

Around the world, Visa is driving financial inclusion and increasing financial literacy among the underserved through our products, services and network; strategic partnerships and educational programs. Visa also actively contributes to the global conversation about how to best address financial inclusion and meet the needs of the underserved. Last week, Visa joined leaders in the financial inclusion community in Myanmar, Colombia and the United States to discuss the global imperative to reach full financial inclusion and collaborate with others to identify solutions.

Last week, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hosted its second international conference on business at the base of the pyramid, the Base II Forum, in Medellin, Colombia. The forum brought together over 1,000 leading experts who work to create innovative business models that connect private sector resources and the untapped potential at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid.

Visa’s Head of Product, LAC, José María Ayuso participated throughout the forum to discuss how Visa is contributing to address the base of the pyramid segment needs through services and solutions. Ayuso contributed to a panel discussion titled “The Great Corporate Leap to Markets of the Base of the Pyramid: Strategy or Coincidence?” As the leader of Visa’s LAC region, Ayuso was able to share the ways in which the company has worked within the region to address the financially underserved.

“Financial Inclusion is in our DNA,” said José María Ayuso during his presentation. “For many years Visa has been working with the Base of the Pyramid, helping micro entrepreneurs build their businesses. However, to be able to reach scale and critical mass, private and government sectors need to work hand in hand. There are many fronts that need to be addressed in a collaborative manner.  A couple of them are the high level of informality that still exists and effective regulation that provides real support to this segment.”  

According to a study commissioned by Visa and conducted by the Latin American publication América Economía, in Colombia in 2012,  SMEs card penetration is 13%, while in the region is 38%.

At Visa, we are proud to know that our products, services and global network are helping provide women and other financially underserved populations with access to the financial tools they need to lead safer, more convenient and dignified lives.

To explore more of Visa’s efforts to advance financial inclusion across the globe, visit our new Financial Inclusion Interactive Map.


Posted by: Evelyn Zapata, Corporate Relations, LAC on June 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Nov 30, 2011

Visa Joins Public-Private partnership to Help Close the Mobile Phone Gender Gap

Visa is proud to join a new partnership to improve the lives of women in developing countries. Announced today, the GSMA mWomen Global Development Alliance brings Visa together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and GSMA Foundation in a partnership to close the gender gap in access to mobile phones and the life-enhancing services they can provide. The partnership’s goals include reducing the mobile phone gender gap by 50% and enabling an additional 150 million underserved women in developing countries to own and effectively use mobile phones and their services, including mobile financial services.

Today, half the world’s adult population—2.5 billion people—lacks access to basic financial services. An estimated 70% of the financially underserved are women. Being financially excluded means relying on cash, where a simple task like paying a bill or receiving money from a family member can be risky, costly and time consuming. Financial exclusion also reinforces the cycle of poverty and slows economic growth. And women in developing economies often bear the greater burden of these impacts.

Mobile technology already is demonstrating the potential to change that. By 2012, 1.7 billion people are expected to own a mobile phone but will not have a bank account. Around the world, we already have begun to see the power that mobile technology can have in extending the reach of digital currency, providing the unbanked with tools for payments and other life-enhancing financial services and bringing new participants into the global financial system. This is, in part, why Visa has been investing in mobile, including our recent acquisition of Fundamo and the launch a new product tailored to the needs of consumers in developing countries— a prepaid account that can be accessed through a simple menu on a mobile phone.

Yet, while mobile financial services offer an unparalleled opportunity to advance financial inclusion, there is a global gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage, with women 21 percent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. The only way mobile will help improve the lives of women at the base of the pyramid is if we work to close the mobile phone gender gap.

The partnership announced today further strengthens our commitment to advancing financial inclusion not only through product innovation, but also by partnering with some of the world’s leading organizations to better understand the challenges of the financially underserved, share our payments expertise and support programs that deliver basic financial services. We look forward to sharing developments from this partnership as it progresses.

For more information and the official press release, click here.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on November 30, 2011 at 6:34 am