Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 1 – Why Being Customer-Centric is a Supply Side Strategy

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In recent years Human Centred Design became a new focus area in the financial inclusion world.  It focused financial service providers on the design of products and services based on customer insights. Design firms became part of the technical provider fraternity, servicing financial service providers in the quest to improved inclusion. At the same time, the… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Digital Deposits (Part 3 of 3)

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This is the third blog in a three part series, which compares digital financial service offerings in Kenya. The first blog focused on mobile money services, the second one analysed digital credit and this one analyses digital deposits. Digital deposit accounts are a controversial topic in digital finance. Many analysts note that mobile money providers cannot offer interest on the balance… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Digital Credit (Part 2 of 3)

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This is the second blog in a three part series, which compares digital financial service offerings in Kenya. The first blog focused on mobile money services and this second one delves into mobile banking services, focusing on digital credit.  These are certainly the most complicated but also the most exciting services given their potential to deepen financial inclusion… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Mobile Money (Part 1 of 3)

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There has been a great deal of international discourse on the topic of mobile money after Kenya’s successful implementation of M-PESA, and as we recently wrote, the success is increasingly shared by banks. This is a clear victory for Kenyan customers, who now have more options to choose from.  However it also means that the financial… Continue reading