About 57 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa remains financially excluded while close to 30 percent remains without a form of identification and 60 percent of the continent has no internet connectivity, leaving these individuals unable to access government assistance and basic financial services.
To address these challenges, Mastercard said it has partnered African fintech and Start Path Company Paycode to provide both company’s offerings on one biometric smart card that will help increase access to critical services and advance economic inclusion for Africans living in remote communities.
Mastercard’s Community Pass platform will be included in Paycode’s Electronic Data And Payments Technology platform (EDAPT) that currently provides a secure, biometric identity as well as a digital bank account. Individuals can access digital financial services offline in real-time even if they lack a formal identity document such as a birth certificate or passport.
Together, Paycode and Mastercard deliver a path to prosperity, enabling users to manage day-to-day needs including paying school fees for children, getting vaccinations for their families, selling goods, and growing their businesses.
To enable this, Community Pass allows a person’s face or palm to be recognized at both online and offline locations, while ensuring best-in-class security of their individual data. Community Pass also leverages consistent technology standards so that an individual can seamlessly access financial, health, agricultural, or aid services across providers, including government disbursements.
The partnership’s goal is to onboard 30 million individuals living in remote, unconnected areas of Africa over the next three years, enabling them to access the products and services they need with a Community Pass biometric smart card that runs on Paycode’s EDAPT platform.
Speaking on the partnership, SVP, Sales & Market Development, H&D for Mastercard, Ricardo Pareja, said: “Adding Inclusive ID functionality to Paycode biometric smart cards helps reach those currently excluded from critical government programs and ensures we are addressing basic financial needs of a dispersed population. As we seek to drive beyond inclusion to fostering prosperity in communities across the globe, a critical focus for Mastercard is to help enable the interoperability and scale of solutions like those provided by Paycode.”
Paycode expressed delight at the partnership. Ittts CEO, Ralph Pecker, said: “We are proud to partner with global leaders like Mastercard to effect positive change for people on the ground and drive innovation in financial services delivery in deep rural areas. As leaders in last mile delivery and proof of life financial services technology, we play the important role of providing solutions that bring tremendous growth and financial access offline in real-time to the financial and technology sectors in Africa.”
Vice President, Business Development – Governments at Mastercard, Selim Ergoz, said shared digital tools and scalable channels can bridge the digital access gap. “We believe that shared digital tools and scalable channels can drastically improve the reach and access to services, by reducing the cost to serve those communities as well as improving the effectiveness of service delivery. At Mastercard, we are committed to building an inclusive, sustainable economy where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential. “Our trusted network powers digital transactions every day, making them safe, simple and smart and we apply this innovation to the most connected and the most remote communities around the world. By partnering with Paycode we will bring Mastercard’s suite of inclusion products to people in Africa that were previously unreachable, and that’s a game changer,” Ergoz said.
Last year, Mastercard pledged to connect 1 billion people, including 50 million micro and small businesses, to the digital economy by 2025. As part of these efforts, the technology company has a direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to grow their businesses.
Paycode’s mission is to give biometric identity and affordable access to basic financial services to over 50 million unbanked and underserved people in Africa by 2025.
Across the world, an estimated 3.4 billion people still struggle to meet basic needs such as access to food, life-saving healthcare, and schooling, and small businesses struggle to receive funding. Community Pass was developed as a shared interoperable digital platform designed by Mastercard to address these different needs. Individuals can be recognized as the same person in different scenarios and make safe, secure, and convenient digital transactions – whether they are receiving healthcare services at a local clinic, checking into a school or redeeming humanitarian cash aid to purchase goods at a local store.