Payments technology company Mastercard, Palang Merah Indonesia and the American Red Cross have launched a pilot programme to distribute funds digitally to families in Indonesia via their mobile phones.
Families could use the funds to purchase water and other items during the drought season, Mastercard said in a press statement on 26 October 2016.
This will be done through Mastercard Send, and the partnership marks the first expansion of Mastercard Send into the humanitarian sector.
Mastercard Send leverages technology built for remittances services to connect to a wide network of mobile network operators, banks and money transfer organisations worldwide.
The technology enables humanitarian organisations to deliver funds through different channels - payment cards, mobile money, bank accounts and cash-out agents - from anywhere in the world.
In addition, with access to a mobile wallet or a payment card, beneficiaries can receive other types of payments such as electronic remittances from friends and families abroad via the same method.
Beneficiaries in Indonesia will be able to receive funds from Palang Merah Indonesia and the American Red Cross into a registered mobile wallet. This provides a safe and convenient way for them to access aid via a phone, which many of them already have.
Receiving digital funds also gave them the control and flexibility to spend their aid money on what they need most.
"Our goal is to provide an innovative service that enables humanitarian and development organisations to distribute funds efficiently and digitally to their beneficiaries," said Shari Krikorian, Vice President, Digital Payments and Labs, Mastercard. "Using Mastercard Send, organisations like the American Red Cross can initiate and electronically control the distribution of aid funds end-to-end through a single interface."
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