Last week, March Capital hosted our first virtual series discussion of 2021 on “Expanding the Envelope,” featuring Vasant Prabhu, Vice Chairman & CFO, Visa, Ram Palaniappan, Founder & CEO, Earnin, Jimmy Chen, Founder & CEO, Propel, and moderated by Rich Karlgaard, Editor-at-Large and Global Futurist, Forbes Media.
Having access to a bank account or prepaid card is no longer the frontier of what it means to be financially included in the US. In 2021, approximately 42 million people in America use food stamps. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 80% of people in America lived paycheck to paycheck and 40-50% of Americans could not come up with $400 in an emergency. However, these issues do not only exist in the US, as approximately 2 billion people are still unbanked globally. Visa, Earnin, and Propel are examples of companies that are mitigating the impact of poverty by rethinking the financial system through creative, innovative solutions.
Earnin and Propel are supporting segments of the financial ecosystem that aren’t meeting the needs of consumers. Their solutions are making a positive impact on people’s lives while educating and advancing their financial lives, and the infrastructure that companies like Visa provide can support Earnin and Propel as they scale. Within the last decade, Visa has fundamentally shifted focus from strictly enabling merchant payments to moving money of all types. In doing so, Visa opens the opportunity for companies like Earnin to offer their customers same-day wage access and companies like Propel to create a fresh EBT card, allowing for a more seamless process for lower income individuals to access the food stamp program.
The barriers of “Expanding the Envelope” to financial accessibility include overcoming “the last mile hurdle” with more people having access to the internet, lowering costs of programs/apps to help lower income individuals, promoting digital and financial literacy, and working with traditional fintech infrastructure.
In order to overcome regulatory challenges, the public and private sector must find a way to bridge the gap and work together. Innovation in the private sector can help modernize the delivery of existing government programs to a larger group of individuals who need financial support. Nevertheless, technology has made it possible to solve some of the traditional challenges for “expanding the envelope,” making the future look promising.
For those who missed it, you can watch the replay here. We hope that you can join us at The Montgomery Summit presented by March Capital in just two weeks, on March 3rd and 4th, 2021. To register for the 2021 Summit, please click the following link: https://cvent.me/mqWNGX. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.