Financial Inclusion in Action

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Customer Service – More Than Just Smiles

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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?

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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?

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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

The OTC Trap – Impact on the Business Case for Uganda’s Mobile Network Operators

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Mobile money providers in Uganda are well aware of the Over The Counter (OTC) trap and its implications, but their response to it will be the subject of another, later blog. This blog examines why OTC matters – enormously – to all stakeholders in digital financial services (DFS). As highlighted by Pawan Bakshi, in “Beware the… Continue reading

Mobile financial services: Is there room for the small, the independent, the different, the nichy, the innovative?

We have seen in a number of countries how, when they work well, branchless banking and especially mobile money systems can reach millions of people. But beyond the headline numbers on customers reached, the record of such systems as a vehicle for financial inclusion is still mixed: we can hardly talk about a globally-proven solution.… Continue reading

Several Times Bitten: Still Not Shy?

The intention to provide at least two accounts to each household in the next one year is welcome. But the question in everybody’s mind is: how will the target be achieved, and what will be the status of these accounts at the end of this exercise? The target itself is ambitious: we want to open… Continue reading

Innovation Overkill: Why Product Innovation in Financial Inclusion isn’t Always the Right Move

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Amid all the renewed talk about product innovation and a client centric (or what we at MicroSave have, for over a decade now, called a “market-led”) approach to financial inclusion, I find myself wondering if we have lost sight of two key aspects: The differences between market leaders and market followers The challenges of advancing… Continue reading