MasterCard Makes Aid Distribution Easier and More Transparent

September 30, 2015, Written By Bill Hardekopf
Estonia - September 24, 2014. Close up of Mastercard credit card isolated on the white background. Mastercard is one of the biggest credit card companies in the world.

Last Thursday, MasterCard launched its MasterCard Aid Network. This program will make it easier for individuals and humanitarian organizations to provide aid to areas facing political and economic unrest.

This is a non-financial service that allows impacted populations the ability to obtain goods, such as food and medicine, with the swipe of a card. MasterCard operates in more than 210 countries throughout the world.

Walt Macnee, vice chairman of MasterCard, said that the company “spent the past two years working with humanitarian organizations to develop a solution that works for everyone—populations in need, aid organizations, local merchants and donors.”

MasterCard Aid Network has already been used and tested by two organizations. In Yemen, Save the Children has been able to feed the 41% of the population that does not have enough food due to war. In the Philippines, World Vision has been able to help businesses rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan.

Up to this point, organizations have been using a paper voucher program that has a number of issues. The MasterCard Aid Network provides people with a card that is pre-loaded with eligible goods, including food, medicine and shelter, and can be used at participating merchants.

Major benefits include:

  • The web-based program does not need to be linked to local financial providers and requires very little training.
  • The card can be deployed anywhere, even in remote locations.
  • The cards can be reused, so volunteers do not need to travel to these locations to distribute and collect paper vouchers.
  • Transactions are digital, so aid organizations can more quickly pay vendors.
  • Aid organizations ensure that the goods being purchased are appropriate, as there is a digital record.
  • It teaches endangered populations how to use technology.

MasterCard plans to work with the Food Agricultural Organization in the near future.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 30, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.