Financial Inclusion in Action

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Communication – The Achilles Heel of Direct Benefit Transfers – Part II


We strongly believe that an integrated communication approach should be the starting point of large Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programmes. It certainly helps to be as clear and succinct as possible to manage expectations. In the previous blog we highlighted how poor and often contradictory communication is leading to mass confusion and apprehension amongst beneficiaries.… Continue reading

Draft Branchless Banking Regulations in Indonesia – A Review

The Government of Indonesia has been proactive in its efforts to extend formal financial access to the unbanked and under-banked sections of the society. The release of draft regulations on branchless financial services for financial inclusion by Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK – the financial services authority that regulates and supervises financial services activities in banking,… Continue reading

Communication – The Achilles Heel of Direct Benefit Transfers – Part I


Imarti Devi is an 84 year old widow in Magalsi village in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh, and receives an old age pension under the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) each month-end. She has no idea of the actual date when she is supposed to receive her pension payment, but the Sarpanch (village head) usually (but… Continue reading

How to Make Financial Education Better…Maybe

It may just be a branding problem. "Financial Education (FE)" and "Financial Literacy" really do sound both condescending AND boring.  Its new and improved name, "Financial Capability (FC)" is slightly less insulting (perhaps), but still fails to clarify what's on offer to very poor people whose only real incapability is very limited financial resources and no prospect of… Continue reading

Customer Service – More Than Just Smiles


With the renewed interest in client-centricity, it seems appropriate to recall the core role of customer service in serving the low income market. In our research, MicroSave consistently sees “how I am treated by the staff (or agents) of the institution” in the top 3-4 drivers of customer choice of service provider as well as… Continue reading

What Is Driving Agent Churn In The Mature East African Markets?


One of the most striking findings from The Helix’s Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) surveys has been the high levels of agents that have been in business for less than one year. In Tanzania only 18%, and in Uganda 21%, of all agents had been in business for two years of more.  In Kenya 40% of… Continue reading

Non-Bank-Bank Partnerships: Break-ups, New Dates on the Cards?


Until this month RBI maintained the view that only licensed commercial banks can offer cash-out services. As a result a number of banks and non-banks formed partnerships. In fact, the RBI’s view hasn’t changed. The RBI has simply decided to regulate non-banks offering business correspondent services too, as differentiated, Payments Banks (PB). Business correspondents (BC)… Continue reading

Does the New Inclusion Scheme Risk Adding a Rs. 1,000 Billion Subsidy Burden?

The Prime Minister is all set to announce a mega new programme on financial inclusion on India’s Independence Day. The Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, is busy shaping the ‘Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan (SVS)’ (Comprehensive Financial Inclusion) scheme in consultation with bankers. Anyone closely associated with the financial inclusion space will worry that without very… Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-II)

In the first blog of this series we outlined the evolution and increasing sophistication of fraud in Uganda. The ingenuity of fraudsters is impressive. But what about the MNOs’ response? Have the providers set up systems improvements and processes geared toward checking such frauds? Talking to the staff of leading mobile money providers in Uganda,… Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-I)

Uganda has seen an explosive growth in mobile money adoption in the last few years, growing from 550,000 active users in 2009 to 5.2 million in 2012 (active on a 30 day basis) according to the Economic Regulation Unit’s Broadcasting & Telecommunications Market Review 2011/12. Now, the rate of mobile money account ownership outstrips bank… Continue reading