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Banker Jane Fraser is democratizing the cashless economy

She helped drive a new platform that enables anyone, including those without bank accounts, to make cashless payments.

Banker Jane Fraser is democratizing the cashless economy
[Illustration: Erick Davila]
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Mexico runs on cash—some 90% of transactions in 2018 were settled in cash, versus 26% in the U.S. Many Mexicans must travel or wait in line to pay for services, carrying cash that makes them susceptible to theft. Last year, the country’s central bank launched Cobro Digital (CoDi), a platform enabling anyone, including the 38% of Mexican adults without bank accounts, to make cashless payments. Jane Fraser, then Citibank’s CEO of Latin America, and her team helped design QR code specs to simplify transactions on mobile phones. She tapped Citibank experts from around the world (mobile banking is hugely popular in Asia) to work with the Mexico team to build and market the app. Today the bank’s Mexican subsidiary, Citibanamex, serves 6.5 million digital clients, and transactions under 8,000 pesos, or about $400, are free to consumers. “For me, it really epitomizes the notion [that] you’ve got to have humanity in banking,” she says. “The world is going to be both high tech and high touch.” Citi has since promoted Fraser, making her one of the most powerful executives in the industry.