Project harnesses smartphone data to connect underserved customers to financial services

Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA) has partnered with The MasterCard Foundation to launch FIBR (Financial Inclusion on Business Runways), a multi-million dollar, four-year project in Ghana and Tanzania to demonstrate how to better connect poor people to financial services by capturing and digitizing the data of business transactions in the informal economy, the companies said.

By 2020, smartphone ownership is projected to rise from about 18 percent to over 50 percent in Africa, generating large amounts of new customer data. Thus, FIBR sets out to support technology, business and financial partners that can use this data to design and develop new ways to make savings, credit and insurance products available to underserved customers.

BFA is a global consulting firm specializing in the development of financial services for low-income people around the world. It has offices in Boston, New York and Nairobi.

The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, independent foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion in order to alleviate poverty. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006.