WSI Mastercard Gateway for the Unbanked Challenge, SDG 9WSI

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

There are more than 2 billion unbanked people in the world today. Interestingly, more than two thirds of them do have access to mobile phones. Yet these individuals, who may lack IDs, are effectively excluded from the formal financial system and may be limited to using cash. How can they gain full access to basic financial services such as the ability to make and receive payments?

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.

Unbanked populations face very real challenges, but entrepreneurship and technology are both 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 individuals excluded from the formal financial system and helps individuals 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.

Explore this challenge

See More

"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

More Challenges

7 Affordable and clean energyBank of the West Clean Energy Challenge

Bank of the West

sdg 7

Clean Energy Challenge: empower school communities to help speed the transition to clean energy.

View Challenge

10 Reduce InequalitiesCiti Foundation COVID Recovery Challenge

Citi Foundation

sdg 10

COVID Recovery Challenge: grow the income of those hit hardest by the the COVID-19 economic crisis.

View Challenge

4 Quality EducationEY Educational Equity Challenge


sdg 4

Educational Equity Challenge: help communities, governments or companies drive racial equity across education.

View Challenge

12 Responsible consumption and productionMary Kay Textiles Upcycle Challenge

Mary Kay

sdg 12

Textiles Upcycle Challenge: create a "circular economy" that reduces waste by promoting clothing reuse or repurposing.

View Challenge

13 Climate actionMoody's Foundation Climate Action Challenge

Moody's Foundation

sdg 13

Climate Action Challenge: empower individuals and communities to take action on climate change.

View Challenge

16 Peace, justice and strong institutionsMoody's Foundation Peace & Justice Challenge

Moody's Foundation

sdg 16

Peace & Justice Challenge: help promote progress on equal justice and create stronger institutions for all.

View Challenge

1 No PovertyPayPal Environmental Justice Challenge


sdg 1

Environmental Justice Challenge: help build the resiliency of vulnerable communities at risk from impacts of climate change and other disasters.

View Challenge

2 Zero HungerPIMCO Zero Hunger Challenge


sdg 2

Zero Hunger Challenge: Design a solution to help food banks increase access to healthy, local food.

View Challenge