Focus On: Financial Inclusion

InComm joins industry leaders in discussing financial inclusion issues and pathways to solutions.

Date:Nov. 5, 2019

Recently, InComm’s Chief Financial Officer, Scott Meyerhoff, and Executive Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Robert Skiba, attended the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s PeachPay Meeting, a gathering of payments and economic professionals and educators focused on information sharing, innovation, and education in the payments industry. The topic for August’s meeting was financial inclusion. As leaders in the payments technology industry, InComm is passionate about its role in the financial inclusion landscape. 

 

Financial inclusion developed as a concept in the early 2000s and has risen in importance in the years since. The World Bank describes financial inclusion as access individuals and businesses have to useful and affordable financial products and services, which are delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. In even simpler terms, it means the ability to have one’s financial needs met in an accessible, non-discriminatory, and non-cost prohibitive manner. 

 

Key components of financial inclusion include access to savings and deposit services, regulation of existing institutions, sustainable use, and competition for services (which drives choice and lowers costs). For individuals without bank accounts – sometimes referred to as cash-preferred – the financial world can be stressful, expensive and unsecure. Cash is more vulnerable to theft and unrecoverable in many events, and lack of access to credit can restrict mobility in purchasing – not to mention the impossibility of online shopping in an increasingly digital world. Additional real and opportunity costs can also apply, including fees for cashing money orders, the time-cost of completing physical payments, and risks of fees incurred from missing a payment not being alleviated by automatic payments or account debits. There’s also the controversial movement of some retailers going entirely cashless. While cash is far from dead – it’s still used in over a quarter of all consumer transactions, according to the Federal Reserve’s Diary of Consumer Payment Choice – there’s no denying the direction many anticipate the economy will go: in a word, digital. 

 

The purpose, then, of financial inclusion is to ensure that these underserved individuals and businesses remain readily able to participate in the modern economy – ideally with the speed and ease expected by today’s consumers. With this in mind, InComm proudly joined fellow financial and payments processing companies, educators, and regulatory agency representatives to view presentations and hold discussions addressing different aspects of financial inclusion, with hopes to further advance the exploration of widescale solutions to ensure financial inclusion for all. 

 

This topic is not new to InComm. Our financial services division is focused on innovations addressing many of these issues. In addition to current offerings, such as VanillaDirect™ Pay, which functions as a general purpose reloadable prepaid card and facilitates bill pay for cash-preferred customers, our teams remain dedicated to furthering collaboration within the payments industry to create more solutions and increase the arsenal of financial tools available to cash-preferred customers. 

 

To learn more about PeachPay, visit the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s website here.  

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