Financial Inclusion in Action

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Give us Some Credit! Meet the Digital Borrowers in Kenya

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It is 3 am in Nairobi. The city, known for its vibrant nightlife, is wide awake. Entertainment spots in the bustling capital of Kenya overflow as the night goes on. The streets are a sea of activity, filled with pleasure-seekers. Interestingly, it is between 3 am and 5 am that a third of all the… Continue reading

Setting Digital Credit Right – Is it Time For a Major Re-think?

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In his January 2017 article on digital credit, MicroSave’s Graham Wright expertly highlighted a worrying trend: negative listing is shutting out millions of users from accessing microlending services This, in turn, has affected financial inclusion. Mr Wright estimates that around 2.7 million people in Kenya – around 10% of the entire adult population – have… Continue reading

How Smart are Smartphone Lending Apps in Kenya?

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The mobile digital credit revolution in Kenya has attracted many fintechs offering loans via smartphones. Smartphone-based products have been touted for their potential to improve the user experience for digital financial services, particularly among low literacy customers. However, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) finds that in India existing interfaces fail to realise… Continue reading

Demand and Supply Side Challenges and Potential Opportunities for Agency Banking in Uganda

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The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act 2016, enabled agency banking in Uganda. What can financial institutions launching agency banking learn from existing data on the banking sector, from experience of mobile money, and from client expectations. The Financial Sector Deepening Programme (FSD) Uganda, commissioned MicroSave to find out. Teams from MicroSave conducted interviews and focus group… Continue reading

From OTC to Mobile Accounts: Easypaisa’s Journey

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In 2009, Pakistan spearheaded the over the counter (OTC) transaction revolution. But in the summer of 2017, the digital financial services (DFS) landscape may experience a watershed moment. In June 2016, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced that as of July 2017, all branchless banking players offering OTC transactions will be required to use… Continue reading

Designing User-Friendly USSD Interface for Digital Financial Services

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According to Finscope 2014, it is estimated that 33% of Malawians have access to formal financial services. For any non-urban individual in Malawi, travelling to the nearest bank takes an average of more than an hour and a quarter. By contrast, 50% of adult Malawians have access to a mobile phone, 20% are aware about mobile… Continue reading

Working Together to Fight DFS Fraud

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Fraud is one of the major threats to the emergence and sustainability of the DFS ecosystem. Uganda’s DFS market has long been plagued by fraud. The Helix 2015 ANA Uganda Report revealed that 53% of Uganda’s mobile money agents have experienced fraud within the last year – either personally or through one of their employees. At the recent launch of… Continue reading

Building a Business Case for Women Agents

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Women agents provide great customer service. They are more attentive, helpful, diligent, and effective at building trust. They are also better at on-boarding women and other underserved populations than their male counterparts. These are often cited conclusions from a series of qualitative studies in India, Zambia, and other markets across Asia and Africa. At the same time, we still… Continue reading

Guiding Financial Institution Strategy: Working on Small Data

There is a worldwide movement towards the use of Big Data[1] across many industries, including financial services. Many financial institutions in the South now have economists reporting to the Board, and a select few, including Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, have Chief Information Officers. Data warehousing is a common terminology, even if evident in few… Continue reading

Delivering Quality in Financial Services – Redefining Customer Service

Let’s face it: we’ve all had problems with our bank or financial service provider; there have been times when we’ve sat across from a Customer Service Officer (CSO) and been unhappy about the answers we’ve been given. A few years ago, this very challenge led my colleagues and myself to think that there was a… Continue reading