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COVID-19

Those without bank accounts face special challenges during a pandemic

David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon Apr 28, 2020
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Mastercard is expanding its program, pledging to get a billion unbanked people and 50 million unbanked very small businesses into the formal financial system within five years. Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
COVID-19

Those without bank accounts face special challenges during a pandemic

David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon Apr 28, 2020
Mastercard is expanding its program, pledging to get a billion unbanked people and 50 million unbanked very small businesses into the formal financial system within five years. Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty Images
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More than 84 million Americans were unbanked or underbanked in 2017, according to the latest Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation survey, meaning they either don’t have a relationship with a bank or they rely on alternative financial services like check cashers and payday lenders for everyday banking needs.

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the challenges of not having access to a bank account, which can complicate everything from buying household essentials online to getting — and cashing — your government stimulus check.

Mastercard has a plan to bring 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025. The payment technology company also wants to sign up 50 million small and micro businesses for the technology needed to accept digital payments, with a focus on closing the gender gap in the digital economy by reaching 25 million women entrepreneurs.

Michael Froman, vice chairman and president of strategic growth at Mastercard, spoke to “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio about the importance of banking access.

“One thing that is sometimes underestimated is how expensive it is to be poor, and the kinds of engagements and transactions that people who are financially vulnerable have to rely on to get access to their money,” Froman said.

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.

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