UPDATE FROM THE BETTER THAN CASH ALLIANCE

Grameen Foundation Joins the Alliance

Grameen Foundation“Electronic payments can give the world’s poor safe, easy access to their money at a relatively low cost,” said Alex Counts, president and CEO of Grameen Foundation. 

Grameen Foundation became the newest member of the Better Than Cash Alliance by committing to continue transitioning to electronic payments through its mobile financial services and mobile agriculture efforts. A global nonprofit organization, Grameen Foundation helps the world’s poorest people — especially women — lift themselves out of poverty by providing access to a range of financial services. The Foundation is already enabling poor women in India and the Philippines to open savings accounts and conduct transactions on mobile phones. They’re also helping smallholder farmers in Kenya receive payments for their crops electronically.
 
Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen Presents to Central Bank Retail Payments Experts
 
Managing Director Ruth Goodwin-Groen and Program Management Committee member Jason Lamb from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the Perugia Centro Congressi
Managing Director Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen and Program Management Committee member Jason Lamb from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the Perugia Centro Congressi
 
 
Managing Director Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen presented the Alliance to nearly 100 central bank officials and private sector payments experts attending the CPSS-World Bank Retail Payments Forum in Perugia, Italy. A key takeaway was that electronic payments advance transparency, financial inclusion and cost reduction as well as sound, efficient payment systems.

The CPSS, the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, is one of the major standard-setting bodies (SSBs) for the global financial sector. “Keeping in close touch with payments overseers is important," says Dr. Goodwin-Groen, "as well-designed regulation is essential to providing retail consumers access to appropriate, affordable, retail payment services. “ Read blog post.
 
Priya Jaisinghani Discusses m-Payments for Development Goals
 
“We’re so excited about mobile payments,” says Jaisinghani in a new video, “because we know banking and payments services are absolutely essential for strong, healthy economies.”

In the video, Program Management Committee member Priya Jaisinghani talks about the power of mobile payments for achieving development goals. As Director of Mobile Solutions for USAID, Jaisinghani is exploring ways to use mobile payments to get aid to refugees faster, empower women with secure and private savings tools, and expand access to basic utilities in some of the poorest areas of the world.

RESOURCES

New Research Presented at SWIFT Institute Gathering: What Works for Financial Inclusion
 
The first conference organized by the SWIFT Institute last month at Harvard University presented new research on financial inclusion to central bankers, commercial bankers and regulatory experts. 

Two papers especially relevant to the work of the Better Than Cash Alliance were presented by:
  • Dr. Susan Johnson from the University of Bath, on the importance of understanding local “fiduciary culture” for designing effective financial products; and
  • Rodger Voorhies from the Gates Foundation, on domestic remittances – which reach 4.5 times as many people as international remittances (especially poor people) and are often in cash – as an ideal “gateway” to financial inclusion.

World Bank Survey Identifies Most Common Emerging Market Inefficiency is Cash
 
A World Bank Payment Systems Development Group survey found that the most common inefficiency in emerging market countries is that cash is still widely used for small-value payments. As part of the effort, the Group recently released a comprehensive “package” for the development and reform of a national retail payments system.
 
As the resource notes, “Retail payment systems play an important role in the smooth functioning of any economy, and thus any inefficiencies in the retail payments market can send negative effects cascading throughout the financial realm.”

For updates on The Better Than Cash Alliance work, please visit www.BetterThanCash.org

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