Visa has made a three-year financial commitment to help the Universal Postal Union, which is the primary forum for cooperation in the global postal system, advance financial inclusion through its new Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility. Of the world’s 661,000 post offices, 91 percent offer some form of financial services, and the UPU aims to increase the number of payment accounts held by posts by 250 million by 2020.
UPU created its Financial Inclusion Technical Assistance Facility to provide technical assistance, practical tools and best practices to posts interested in developing digital financial services (DFS) for excluded populations.
Recent studies reflect that Posts have certain traits—including nearby urban and rural locations, approachability, familiarity—that make them especially appropriate for offering bank services to parts of the population that tend to be financially excluded, such as women, the poor, rural dwellers and those with less education.
Visa is providing three years of financial support through a charitable grant to the UPU to establish the facility and conduct activities. Visa joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UPU in funding this initiative as part of our financial inclusion global partnerships strategy. The facility will champion action by post offices on inclusive digital financial services and provide up to 20 qualifying posts with support to improve their capabilities and products. The facility will also research ways that posts can include the small merchants that operate near their branches.
Visa’s commitment is supporting a sustained effort to foster financial empowerment in countries all over the world, and generate thought leadership and insights that help the whole industry. Visa also does business with post offices around the world, including the current project with Egypt Post to digitize more than a quarter of its 25 million paper-based accounts by issuing 9 million cards for account holders and pension recipients. The partnership also empowers Egypt Post to expand its services for small business by offering acquiring services to merchants in remote areas through its 4,500 branches.
Visa understands that posts are well positioned to deliver inclusive financial services, and that digital technology will make this viable, sustainable and scalable for post offices.
 Global Panorama on Postal Financial Inclusion 2016, Universal Postal Union