The Better Than Cash Alliance Uses Mobile Money to Empower Low-Income People
The Better Than Cash Alliance is a new partnership between governments, nongovernmental organizations and businesses working to accelerate the shift from cash to electronic payments. This shift can improve the livelihoods of low-income people by advancing financial inclusion, enabling people to build savings and accelerating the growth of emerging economies. The alliance was founded by Citi, the Ford and Gates Foundations, the Omidyar Network, Visa, UNCDF and USAID.
The alliance advocates for governments, nongovernmental organizations and private businesses to transition their distribution of government benefits, humanitarian aid assistance, payroll and supplier payments from cash to electronic. The alliance develops policy, technical and financial assistance, cutting-edge research products, best practices and case studies to identify effective approaches to implement and drive the electronic transition. The benefits of shifting to electronic payments include decreasing costs of transactions, promoting transference and accountability in in the flow of capital, and providing a safer way for recipients to access money, according to Christine Roth, executive secretary a.i. of the U.N. Capital Development Fund.
In a new video showcasing the alliance, Ford Foundation president Luis Ubinas explains,
"We know that electronic transfers work. When those payments go to banks, people save. It might only be 50 cents, it might only be a dollar, but they save. The people take those savings and build businesses."
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also comments in the video, adding,
"In parts of Afghanistan, we've seen that shifts to electronic payments can actually help reduce fraud and waste, and thereby improve the actual salaries that Afghan police officers receive."