Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

Key New Year Resolutions for the Success of Digital Financial Services

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First of all, let me reaffirm my belief that digital financial services (DFS) really do have the potential to provide financial inclusion for many (but perhaps not all) of the 2 billion un-banked. Its potential to reduce the costs of providing a range of financial services is an exciting prospect for those of us who… Continue reading

Top Blogs from 2016

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  Presenting MicroSave's top picks for the year. Do you see your favourite blog here? e-KYC and the India Stack – A Transformative Blueprint for Emerging Markets Billions of people around the world are required to meet know your customer (KYC) norms to avail of services considerably important to their lives. Yet, widely prevalent archaic… 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

Demystifying the Role of Master Agents

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Agents are deemed the lynchpin of any successful digital finance (mobile money or agent banking) roll-out. A plethora of literature has been written about the role they play in building successful and sustainable digital finance businesses.  Less attention has been paid to the critical work of Master Agents who constitute an important, if not crucial, element in the agent-based… Continue reading

Burgeoning ‘Typhoons’ in Digital Financial Services

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Typhoons are great engines of destruction. When a typhoon makes landfall it often produces a devastating storm surge that destroys everything in its path without mercy. The best defence against a typhoon is an accurate forecast that gives people time and means to get out of its way. It is therefore prudent to watch, watch… Continue reading

Customer Vulnerability, Trust and Risk in Indian Digital Financial Services

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Qualitative research done as a part of MicroSave’s study for the Omidyar Network on customer production, risk and financial capability in India shows that customers’ perceptions of banking or financial transactions are still focused on brick and mortar based services. DFS providers have not done enough to change the customer’s perception and gain trust. The… Continue reading

Predictions for Regulators of Digital Financial Services

It is always dangerous to make predictions in an industry which is expanding and evolving rapidly, so it is with trepidation that I now do so. However, the predictions below are based on market insights and observations from working many years within the mass retail financial sectors and in Digital Financial Services (DFS). 1. DFS will… Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 3 – What Happened and Where Are We Today?

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In the previous blog “The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 2 – Beyond the Basics” we discussed the details of building a customer-centric, or market-led financial service provider – and the intricate jigsaw puzzle of skills, processes, incentives, planning and execution required to pull it off. Results So, did all of… Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 2 – Beyond the Basics

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In the first part of this blog, we saw how just understanding customer demand is not enough to deliver mass financial inclusion … or even a successful product. Supply-side factors are key…if rather more difficult that a quick market research exercise. Even after careful pilot-testing and a structure roll-out, it turned out that all that… Continue reading