There’s a digital revolution that is taking place in the financial inclusion space, according to an update from Visa (NYSE: V).
The Visa team writes in a blog post that emerging Fintech firms continue to develop innovative solutions “to barriers to access — access to safe, secure financial services such as a savings account or a business loan via mobile phone.”
As noted in a blog by the payments giant, Inclusive Fintech 50 (IF50), an initiative sponsored by Visa and organized by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI), aims to provide early-stage Fintech companies that are making financial inclusion a reality along with “the awareness and access to networks that will help them elevate their businesses.”
“Now in its third year, IF50 [opened] applications on June 28, and close at the end of July 26. Winners will be announced in October and will receive select benefits including being able to customize and co-brand Practical Business Skills, Visa’s global digital platform that delivers free educational resources for small and micro businesses (SMBs) in support of their recovery efforts.”
As confirmed by Visa, winners will also be able to automatically pre-qualify in order to take part in the Visa Fintech Fast Track, which a program that helps “to speed up the process of integrating with Visa and its ecosystem of partners.”
As stated in the update:
“Visa’s on-going support of SMBs, including digitally enabling 50 million worldwide, is part of the company’s long-term commitment to financial inclusion. Past IF50 grant winners, including Fonbnk, SoLo Funds and Neat, have gone on to participate in Visa’s Fintech FastTrack program.”
Fonbnk enables “borderless” banking for around 1.7 billion unbanked consumers across the globe. Users may access, earn, transfer, pay, and save money easily, “from the comfort of their mobile device.” Using Fonbnk’s Airtime Wallet and a prepaid mobile SIM card (with a verifiable online identity), “anyone around the world can have a free global debit card instantly.”
Christian Duffus, Founder and CEO Fonbnk and Inclusive Fintech 50 grant winner, stated:
“Programs like Inclusive Fintech 50 and Visa Fintech Fast Track helped us develop contacts and networks and realize our product vision and dreams. I’ve found it invaluable, everything from our introductions to issuers to giving us significant credibility with partners outside of the program.”
According to SoLo Funds, 78% of US workers are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, often forced into borrowing funds from friends or family members, or taking out loans from predatory payday lenders that average 400% APR.
As explained in the update:
“SoLo Funds found a better way to borrow and pay back. Borrowers can secure affordable small-dollar loans via SoLo’s peer-to-peer mobile marketplace, which connects borrowers to lenders. Lenders earn “appreciation tips” while borrowers set their own payback terms and receive funds same-day.”
Neat’s financial services platform has been developed to make the world of trade “more accessible to entrepreneurs, small and mid-size enterprises and startups,” Visa’s management noted.
They also mentioned that businesses are able to quickly, simply and securely “incorporate in Hong Kong and an account to receive and transfer multi-currency funds, issue corporate cards to employees, integrate with accounting and payment gateways and more.”
The fully online application process “takes about 15-minutes to complete” and since launching its business operations, Neat has over 30,000 businesses set up with a Neat account in order “to expand and trade internationally.”