Financial Inclusion in Action

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Reducing Friction To Succeed


A wage labourer from Bihar, India, swipes a metro rail card, as he runs to catch a train to a construction site he works at in Delhi. A mother enters a few digits on her Equitel mobile phone to pay the monthly school fee of her daughter in remote Eldoret, Kenya. A small shop owner outside of Pokhara, Nepal,… Continue reading

Digital Financial Inclusion In India – A Long Road To Take-Off?


The history of India’s efforts to achieve digital financial inclusion has been diverse, but largely top-down. These efforts have produced a mixture of RBI regulations and advices for banks, and government policies and directives. Most recently, the RBI provided guidelines for differentiated banks (Payments and Small Finance Banks) specifically designed to deepen outreach and enhance… Continue reading

Small Finance Banks – Are You Ready? The Opportunities and Challenges


Small Finance Banks reiterate the Reserve Bank of India’s commitment to achieve financial inclusion by supporting the development of institutions that offer innovative ‘high technology, low-cost operations’ driven financial services. Key highlights of Small Finance Banks Small Finance Banks (SFBs) shall primarily undertake basic banking activities including acceptance of deposits and lending credit to unserved… Continue reading

Designing an Effective User Interface for USSD: Part2


In the first part of this blog series “Designing an effective user interface for USSD”, we presented a comparative analysis of various access channels used for accessing mobile money services. This blog presents the behavioural insights from the user perspective based on the recent research conducted by MicroSave with a leading MNO in five geographies.… Continue reading

Designing an Effective User Interface for USSD: Part1


Suraj is an illiterate migrant from Muzzafarpur (Bihar) who works at a construction site in Delhi. He has recently opened a mobile wallet with a leading mobile network operator (MNO) in India. When we met him, his primary concern was – “How would I use my (mobile money) account, when I don’t even know where… Continue reading

Cooperation or Competition


In our last blog we presented an analysis of the 11 players that have received the “in principle” approval from Reserve Bank of India to operate the payments banks. None of the Over the Counter (OTC) remittance players got the license which surprised many in the payments and financial inclusion arena. This blog talks about… Continue reading

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!


“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


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