The Better Than Cash Alliance helps governments adopt digital payments by providing leadership, research, and technical expertise.

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Governments are typically the largest generator of payments. According to the World Bank, however, only a quarter of developing countries digitize their cash transactions and social benefits. Digital payments provide governments a more efficient, transparent, and safer means of disbursing benefits like pensions and social welfare. Governments can realize substantial benefits by making the transition to digital payments, for example:

  • More cost-effective distribution of benefits, leading to budget savings
  • More transparency, accountability, and the ability to track financial flows
  • Greater financial inclusion, bringing more citizens into the formal economy, and broadening the revenue base

Government Transition Success Stories

  • In Brazil, the Bolsa Família cash transfer program reduced its transaction costs from 14.7 percent of total payments to 2.6 percent when it bundled several benefits onto one payment card.
  • When the Argentine government digitized payments, the proportion of recipients who admitted to paying bribes to local officials in order to access their payments fell from 3.6 percent to 0.3 percent.
  • The Colombian government’s Familias Accion social welfare program digitized payments, resulting in approximately 9 out of 10 beneficiaries having a card-linked bank account.