MasterCard Launches Aid Network

MasterCard announced the launch of its new non-financial service, MasterCard Aid Network, to help humanitarian organizations distribute aid relief in the absence of telecommunication channels.

The aid network works by providing beneficiaries with a chip-enabled card, which can be credited with relief aid, such as food, medicine and shelter. To redeem, the users are just required to dip their card, select available items like groceries and enter a PIN number, according to a press release.

“With MasterCard Aid Network, we are transforming the way NGOs and other aid agencies can deliver support to people in need,” said Walt Macnee, vice chairman of MasterCard. “We spent the past two years working with humanitarian organizations to develop a solution that works for everyone involved — populations in need, aid organizations, local merchants and donors.”

Before launch, the service was successfully tested and proven in several places demanding humanitarian support. For instance, it helped provide support for Save the Children, an organization supporting internally displaced children of civil unrest and war in Yemen where about 41 percent of the population don’t have access to basic necessities.

“Our staff, vendors and aid beneficiaries were able to quickly adopt and use the system,” said George Fenton, director of humanitarian operations services at World Vision. “It also gave our field staff the ability to quickly add or restrict items depending on the type of intervention, saving us time and cost.”

Other than providing humanitarian support, the company said, the card would also help eliminate voucher fraud, which is prevalent among paper-based voucher systems, as NGO support staff would be able to verify aid available for beneficiaries. The company said, in the long run, it would also help improve financial inclusion in areas of need.

For more on the updates surrounding financial inclusion, click here to take a look at our Financial Inclusion Tracker, powered by Mozido, which provides an organizing framework for evaluating the many players that provide digital financial inclusion services to underbanked and unbanked populations around the world.

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