Banks and payments giants would like to cultivate a better relationship with America’s unbanked—the poor rung of society typically targeted by payday loan predators—and Silicon Valley is anxious to arm Wall Street with a data-based approach for the effort.

Unbanked consumers are a riddle that has confounded the banking sector for years. Twelve million Americans turn to payday loans out of financial desperation, spending roughly $7.4 billion annually on loans with interest rates of 400 percent on average, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. It may be a controversial consumer segment to target, but there are profits in the underclass for financial institutions that get it right.

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