How We Work Technology
More than 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to banking services. Most live in rural areas with high poverty rates where it is difficult and expensive to set up financial infrastructure. Additional barriers to financial services include high costs to users, having to travel long distances to banks and the extensive paperwork required to set up an account.
Commercial banks tend to avoid serving poverty-stricken communities because potential clients often can’t afford formal identification or read the extensive paperwork necessary to open an account.
Over the last 10 years, Opportunity International has invested in electronic and mobile technologies to reduce transaction costs and bring services to the most marginalised and remote clients.
Digital fingerprint scanning allows entrepreneurs to efficiently prove their identity and securely access financial services. Every Opportunity International savings client now receives a card with a biometric scan of their fingerprints embedded on a magnetic strip. We also install point-of-sale devices in rural markets and ATMs in community gathering places. These devices allow clients to make transactions near home, thereby reducing transportation costs, improving their productivity and increasing the safety of their savings deposits.
Over half of the developing world’s population uses mobile phones. Our banking programmes enable clients to repay loans or transfer funds into Opportunity International savings accounts from their mobile device. They can also check account balances, transfer money, pay bills, receive salary or government payments, and buy phone minutes.
Your support will help us provide access to basic financial services we take for granted.