Financial services giant Visa, the Stellar Development Foundation and payments technology company Circle have all partnered with California-based fintech firm Tala to boost cryptocurrency adoption in emerging markets, according to a May 5 announcement.
Tala CEO Shivani Siroya claims that cryptocurrencies have the potential to solve the arduous problem of financial inclusion:
We couldn’t be more excited that Visa, Circle and the Stellar Development Foundation share our vision and want to work on a solution, not only for Tala’s 6 million global customers but for the billions more who can benefit.
With the new partnership, Tala customers will be able to use the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin to make cross-border payments and purchase other cryptocurrencies.
Visa will also issue cards that will allow spending of USDC at tens of millions of supported merchants.
Small loans for the unbanked
As per data provided by World Bank, over 1.7 billion adults around the globe remain unbanked.
Tala was launched back in 2014 to offer small uncollateralized loans to people who do not have access to a bank account, in countries like Tanzania, Mexico, Kenya and India. Throughout these years, it has loaned money to over four million customers.
In lieu of credit history, Tala relies on mobile use data (SMS receipts, call length, etc.) to determine the level of risk with the help of its machine learning algorithms. It usually takes only a minute to approve a loan.
In 2019, Tala’s valuation increased to $750 million after wrapping up a $110 million funding round that had PayPal among its participants.