Financial Inclusion in Action

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The Race Begins: Payment Bank Licenses

The financial inclusion in India was primarily driven by the full service banks or universal banks. Realising that this needs more / differentiated player, one of the largest worldwide experiments has been initiated in India by the central bank-Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This was set in motion in Dec 2014. Key highlights of payments… Continue reading

Thoughts on DFS in “Europe Minus Infrastructure” – DRC!

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“Europe minus infrastructure”? This was the term that James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Group, used in an Equity Group briefing when describing and explaining Equity Banks’ move into DRC by purchasing ProCredit Bank Congo.  I have been thinking about which country might be the following some of the leading digital financial services (DFS) countries like… Continue reading

Solving Customer Service Issues in Digital Finance – Can Do, Must Do

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There is a growing interest in, and appreciation of the importance of, customer service in digital financial services (DFS), for reasons explained highlighted in the previous blog in this series  (See “In Our Digital Financial Service We Trust?”). GSMA recently released a code of conduct for mobile money service providers. CGAP is also playing a… Continue reading

In Our Digital Financial Service We Trust?

“We keep hearing mobile money users complain about unstable network, delayed service, missing money and many other negative comments about mobile money. Why then should we register for these services?” After years of preoccupation with over-coming the core challenges of establishing large-scale, sustainable digital finance (largely mobile money) systems in developing countries, we are seeing… Continue reading

Can Self-Service Channels Be The Next Frontier Of Financial Inclusion?

Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in India has made rapid strides in the last decade.  It has been estimated that a 10% increase in broadband connectivity leads to a 1.38% increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)1. While urban India has witnessed an exponential growth in mobile and internet access, rural India is lagging behind.… Continue reading

Over the Counter (OTC) in Pakistan: The Challenges and the Way Forward

In the first part of this blog, “Over the Counter (OTC) in Pakistan: Why It Works”, we examined the drivers behind the roaring success of OTC-based services in the country. This blog examines the challenges this success has bought, how the providers are responding and the prospects for the future of branchless banking in Pakistan. 4)… Continue reading

Over the Counter (OTC) in Pakistan: Why It Works

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A customer walks into a shop and tells the retailer … “I would like to send money to [another city] …”.  The discussion continues until, after verifying the customers original CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) to meet KYC/AML requirements, the shopkeeper transfers money from his account. Once this is done, and the customer has confirmed that the recipient has indeed… Continue reading

What’s Undermining India’s Financial Inclusion Progress?

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The Government of India is undertaking the most ambitious financial inclusion drive in history. The effort has two key elements: the financial inclusion plan called Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and direct benefit transfer (DBT) payments from the government into beneficiaries’ bank accounts. The success of these efforts hinges on one factor above all: the quality of the… Continue reading

Can “Behavioural Science” Bell Scheme Design Cat? Insights from Exploratory Research on the Public Distribution System in India

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Having tasted success with the Modified Direct Benefit Transfer for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (MDBTL) through Pahal (though sceptics have their doubts), the Government of India is dropping hints that it plans to expand the ambit of DBT further to other subsidy programmes. At about INR 460 billion ($7.4 billion), MDBTL seems to be huge, but… Continue reading

Two More Revolutions Underway in Kenya

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It is first quarter results and investors briefing season in Kenya, providing a chance to see how the market is evolving. And for the country’s leading financial services players, that evolution has been a profitable one. But behind the celebration of M-PESA’s remarkable payments revolution, and the continued growth of M-Shwari’s mobile banking services, there are two other important… Continue reading