Of the 2.6 billion people who live on less than US$2 per day, 90 percent lack access to formal financial services.
The Alliance, which aims to break the cycle of poverty by creating an on-ramp to access financial services for people formerly excluded, launched today. It's backed by the UN, U.S. government, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, and Visa Inc.
According to the Alliance, "electronic distribution of social benefits, humanitarian aid or payroll payments can advance financial inclusion and help poor people build savings while achieving cost savings, efficiency and transparency."
Formally committing to digitizing their payments for programs that support people living in poverty, Mercy Corps, CARE, Concern Worldwide, the World Food Programme and the governments of Peru, Kenya, Colombia and the Philippines have joined as members.
The Alliance will be meeting with global leaders at a forum coinciding with the Clinton Global Initiative and United Nations Assembly in New York, Monday, September 24.
Coming up: Details about the Better than Cash Alliance, and an interview with Mercy Corps staff leading an inter-agency evaluation of new opportunities for using e-payments.