Amex Announces New Tech Initiatives to Help the Underbanked

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American Express has launched several technology-based initiatives that promote financial education and opportunities for the underbanked and banking startups in the U.S.

Tens of millions of Americans continue to rely on check cashers, pawn shops, money orders, "and other outdated ways to manage and move their money," stated Dan Schulman, group president of enterprise growth at American Express, in a release. "It's time for change."

Amex says it hopes "to help advance the next generation of banking products" and close the gap between demand for alternative banking services and mainstream banking, Schulman said.

In a new Financial Inclusion Initiative, American Express Ventures' team in Silicon Valley will work with startups trying to create new financial services technology designed to help the underserved get access to capital, build their credit, better manage their money or save more.

In June, Amex will launch a financial innovation lab. Its goal, according to the release, is to bring together researchers focused on financial inclusion solutions, financial counselors who work with the underserved, and technology providers "to test and validate solutions to critical problems in the areas of savings and credit building."

In addition Amex has partnered with award-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim to sponsor "Spent: Looking for Change," a documentaryabout how technology and innovative thinking can help address financial issues that concern roughly 70 million underserved Americans. Set to premiere this summer, the documentary follows a handful of customers trying to navigate their way through the existing mainstream financial options.

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