Mastercard, Mercado Libre, Common Cents Lab, and IDB Join Forces to Improve Financial Resilience among entrepreneurs and gig workers

  • The two-year program in Latin America will use behavioral science to help build resilient futures as economies continue to recover.
  • The impact of in-app modifications and notifications on profits, savings, and use of insurance products, considered as the three paths toward financial resilience for small businesses and gig workers, will be studied within digital platforms.

MIAMI and MEXICO CITY and DURHAM, N.C., May 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- If you’ve been thinking more and more about saving money during the past year, you're not alone. While the pandemic has upended our personal finance habits, small changes in our routine can make a big difference. A new initiative in Latin America supported by Mastercard, Mercado Libre, the IDB’s Retirement Savings Laboratory, and Common Cents Lab, a financial behavior research lab at Duke University, seeks to use behavioral science to help entrepreneurs and SMEs in the region make better financial decisions.

According to the IDB’s COVID-19 Labor Market Observatory, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 31 million people lost their jobs in Latin America, and the United Nations anticipates the worst recession for the region in a century. Small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs who are actively working, or those who are deciding to enter the digital economy at this stage, must have sufficient financial resilience to overcome this period and be even better prepared to weather financial shocks. The partners collaborating in this program agree that financial resilience is the ability to prepare for, deal with, and recover later from economic shocks.

With support from the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for the next two years, Common Cents Lab team will work with digital platforms including Mercado Libre, the largest e-commerce site in Latin America, to design strategies based on behavioral science, which can be validated and adopted by multiple players in the region. Thus, these strategies will contribute to the growth of digital platforms offering greater financial resilience for the most vulnerable entrepreneurs and workers.

The program will launch first in Mexico and will then be implemented in other countries where the e-commerce platform operates. "This partnership strengthens our commitment to the SMEs in Mexico because it will allow us to better understand them and be a real driver for the country's economic reconstruction," added Davido Geisen, Managing Director of Mercado Libre México. "It represents great pride and responsibility for us to be the first technology company in the region to implement a study of this magnitude to improve the impact on thousands of entrepreneurs through behavioral science."

Behavioral Economics is the study of how people behave and make decisions. Integrating technology with learnings from Behavioral Economics in the financial services space, may help people make financial decisions that are more beneficial to their life in the long run.

“Common Cents Lab has proven the power of applied behavioral science in the United States and a number of other countries around the globe,” said Luz Gomez, director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “Their expertise and insights will be a powerful counter to the urgent and rapidly growing financial needs of people in this region.”

To improve the financial resilience of thousands of SMEs in Mexico and the Latin America region, the program will use the expertise of its partners, to develop changes and notifications within the Mercado Libre platform and study its impact on profits, short- and long-term savings, or the use of credit products among its sellers. “The experience we have accumulated at the IDB shows us that we can improve the lives of citizens and their financial habits by using technology and facilitating decision-making,” said Oliver Azuara, lead at the IDB’s Retirement Savings Laboratory.

“We are excited to launch this new initiative with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and our partners in the region as a way to measurably help those affected by the pandemic recover and better prepare for future financial emergencies,” said Common Cents Lab co-founder Mariel Beasley. “By designing behavioral-informed interventions that exist within these digital platforms, we can produce significant improvements in financial decision-making and resiliency that will serve as a model for best practices in other countries.”

This initiative builds on Mastercard’s ongoing efforts to address the economic challenges facing individuals in the region. Last year, the company united technology leaders in Latin America, including Mercado Libre, to launch the Tech for Good Partnership, a first-of-its-kind private sector agreement to accelerate digital and financial inclusion in the region. Together, its partners pledge to use their resources, assets, and expertise to prioritize digital and financial inclusion efforts in the wake of COVID-19.

To learn more about the Common Cents Lab, please visit

To learn more about the IDB Retirement Savings Laboratory, go to the following link:

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

About Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. The Center leverages the company’s core assets and competencies, including data insights, expertise and technology, while administering the philanthropic Mastercard Impact Fund, to produce independent research, scale global programs and empower a community of thinkers, leaders and doers on the front lines of inclusive growth. For more information and to receive its latest insights, follow the Center on Twitter, @CNTR4growth, LinkedIn and subscribe to its newsletter.

About Mercado Libre
Founded in 1999, MercadoLibre is the largest online commerce ecosystem in Latin America, serving as an integrated regional platform and as a provider of the necessary digital and technology-based tools that allow businesses and individuals to trade products and services in the region. The Company enables commerce through its marketplace platform which allows users to buy and sell in most of Latin America.

About Common Cents Lab
Common Cents Lab, supported by MetLife Foundation and the BlackRock Emergency Savings Initiative, is a financial behavior research lab at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University that creates and tests interventions to help low-to-moderate income households increase their financial wellbeing. Common Cents leverages research gleaned from behavioral science to create interventions that lead to positive financial behaviors. The lab is led by Behavioral Economics Professor Dan Ariely and is comprised of researchers and experts in product design, economics, psychology, public policy, advertising, business administration, and more.

To fulfill its mission, Common Cents partners with organizations, including fintech companies, credit unions, banks and nonprofits that believe their work could be improved through insights gained from behavioral economics. To learn more about Common Cents Lab visit

About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides loans, grants and guarantees, the IDB conducts cutting-edge research to offer innovative and sustainable solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges. Founded in 1959 to help accelerate progress in its developing member countries, the IDB continues to work every day to improve lives.

Press Contact:
Michael Azzano
Cosmo PR for Common Cents Lab