Engaging U.S. Payment Companies to Promote Economic Security and Prosperity

3 minutes read time
Representatives from the U.S Department of State and the interagency meet with executives from American Express, Diners, Discover, Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa.
Representatives from the U.S Department of State and the interagency meet with executives from American Express, Diners, Discover, Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa.

Engaging U.S. Payment Companies to Promote Economic Security and Prosperity

According to the World Bank, about half of the world still lacks access to formal payment instruments. McKinsey estimates that by moving transactions into the formal financial system, the world would gain a $3.7 trillion GDP boost by 2025. U.S. payment companies are recognizing the market opportunity in this space, and are filling the gap by leveraging digital tools to decrease cost and increase scale. Representatives from the U.S Department of State and the interagency recently had the opportunity to engage with executives from American Express, Diners, Discover, Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa. These companies are doing amazing work to build their businesses and simultaneously promote financial inclusion in overseas markets.

As the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, it is our job to promote economic security and prosperity at home and abroad. An important element of this work is close coordination and communication with U.S. companies to identify priorities and concerns. These consultations inform and shape U.S. economic policy which drives our work with interagency colleagues in Washington as well as the work of our embassies around the world.

Safe and secure payment systems have the power to transform economies. Through accessible and reliable payment options, people around the world can more easily and securely receive a salary, get financial help from a friend, pay their bills, and provide for the needs of their families. Tracking payments helps to build up financial infrastructure like credit reporting systems, supply chain finance, and tracking of financial flows to better police money laundering and terrorist financing. With this formalization comes a way for governments to increase participation in tax systems, in line with our goal to promote self-reliance in developing countries. 

U.S. firms are demonstrating a great deal of innovation to meet this potential amidst a quickly-changing global payments landscape. Companies are partnering with firms in other markets, leveraging the strengths of each company to offer better products. They are using cloud infrastructure to store and manage data in more efficient and cost-effective ways. The State Department and the U.S. payments industry have a history of partnership advancing American values, quality, and innovation globally. I look forward to building on this foundation to identify and promote more innovation opportunities for American companies and their workers, and to foster an enabling environment to advance U.S. commercial and economic security interests at home and abroad.

About the Author: Manisha Singh serves as Acting Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment for the U.S Department of State.