Some may consider it a norm, but access to electronic payments is a significant gap for many living in emerging and developing countries. Today, 2.5 billion adults – more than a third of the world’s population – are excluded from the formal financial sector. This is most acute in the developing world, where approximately 80 percent of poor people are excluded.

The Better Than Cash Alliance is focused on addressing these gaps and advancing the transition from cash to electronic payments through partnerships with governments, the development community and the private sector.

The Coca-Cola Company is proud to join the alliance as the first consumer goods company member
. As a member of the Alliance, Coca-Cola will pursue programs aimed to increase the use of electronic payments across its global operations and supply chain in collaboration with its bottling partners. Additionally, the company will also participate in industry dialogues to advance collective efforts.

Shifting to electronic payments can create lasting benefits for people communities and economies, including: cost savings, greater transparency, speed and security, new market access, as well as advancing financial inclusion and economic development goals. Electronic payments can increase the security and efficiency of salary disbursements to employees, as well as provide significant cost savings to a company by eliminating the handling, transportation and distribution fees associated with cash-based payments.

For small shop retailers, and particularly women, residing in the developing world – where approximately 80 percent of poor adults do not access formal financial services – electronic payments have the potential to provide the financial tools necessary to increase their income. According to a recent report by the World Bank, integrating digital payments into the economies of developing nations addresses crucial issues of broad economic growth and individual financial empowerment, particularly for women. For example, studies cited in the report found that access to electronic payments increases women’s economic participation, and fosters entrepreneurism.

Coca-Cola  joins more than 30 governments, development organizations, UN agencies and foundations who are also members of the Alliance. Funders of the Alliance include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citi, Ford Foundation, MasterCard, Omidyar Network, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.N. Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and Visa Inc.