Mastercard and Accion share a commitment to building an inclusive digital economy. Accion has long worked to ensure the digital transformation of financial services benefits the world’s three billion financially underserved people, and in 2020, Mastercard pledged to connect 1 billion people—including 50 million micro and small businesses—to the digital economy by 2025.
Mastercard has partnered with Accion since 2011, primarily through the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Our partnership has sustained Accion’s work across many of our teams and programs, including Accion Global Advisory Solutions, Accion Venture Lab, the Center for Financial Inclusion, and Accion Opportunity Fund, Accion’s primary U.S. presence that supports underfunded small business owners in the U.S.
Our expanded partnership
In 2018, Mastercard and Accion announced a dramatic expansion of our work together. Our first-of-its-kind partnership unites our worldwide networks and resources to help 8 million people, including 3 million merchants, successfully operate in—and benefit from—the digital economy. We are combining insights, innovations, and investments to get critical tools in the hands of small businesses and the financial service providers who serve them.
Around the world, micro-merchants like grocers and ‘mom and pop’ stores, operate largely in cash exchanged in-person, rather than safe and secure digital transactions. This keeps small businesses out of the formal financial sector, and now the pandemic makes their efforts to go online much more urgent.
Seven financial service providers around the world have joined the partnership to digitally transform their operations to reach more small business more effectively. Sub-K, one of these partners, leverages an expansive agent network to reach clients in rural India and connect them with financial services. Accion provided advisory support for the development of SARTHI, Sub-K’s new digital financial services platform that provides a range of offerings for small business, including microcredit and health insurance—all accessible from a mobile phone. SARTHI can take Sub-K’s efforts to reach underserved businesses to the next level while its agent network is limited due to COVID-19.