WSI Mastercard Financial Access Challenge, SDG 9WSI

Design a product or service to help the "unbanked" make and receive payments, providing a gateway to improved financial access.

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Unbanked individuals include those who may lack ID, only use cash and are excluded from the formal financial system. Think of a small shareholder farmer with no access to credit, who has a bad harvest and cannot pay for his children’s schooling, causing them to miss a year of their education. These are the very real challenges that unbanked populations face.

There are more than 2 billion unbanked people in the world today. Without access to the formal financial system, unbanked individuals cannot store, transfer, or receive money, increasing their vulnerability and limiting their ability to control their financial futures. In order to obtain greater financial security and to better meet their basic needs, these populations must be included in the formal financial system.

Both entrepreneurship and technology are powerful tools for helping unbanked populations gain access to the formal financial system.

Your challenge from Mastercard is to design a technology product or service that meets the needs of financially excluded individuals to make and receive payments. Your solution should be simple and safe.

  • Unbanked individuals need to easily access, send, and store funds in a secure manner that meets their needs. How can technology help?
  • Can your solution help the unbanked simply and securely receive and deliver payments for things like food, education, shelter, and healthcare?
  • When you’re thinking about technology businesses, remember that there are lots of different kinds of tech businesses! Microsoft and Google are both considered tech companies. So is Mastercard. And so are Amazon and Etsy. Tech is a very broad category and can encompass a wide range of business models.
  • Who will your customer be? Is your solution geared towards serving a rural or urban population—or both? Are you targeting a specific group of people, such as refugees?
  • Are there organizations out there you can partner with to make certain types of services better available to your target customer?
  • What makes your solution helpful to the unbanked specifically?


Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities---such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances—easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

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We’re passionate about innovation. As a leading technology company, Mastercard is constantly seeking to develop and test new payment solutions that are safe, simple and smart.

Ajay Banga / President and CEO, Mastercard

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