Financial Inclusion in Action

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Can instant messenger disrupt the digital payments market in India?

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What’s up with WhatsApp? Have you ever wondered about the idea of sending anything other than photos, emojis, videos and web links through popular instant messenger (IM) apps to your friends? Have you ever wanted to send money to a friend instantly when she reminds you about the bill that you were supposed to split,… Continue reading

The Four Zones: A Missing Chapter in the Financial Inclusion Guidebook

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As of March 24, 2017, a little more than 9 million dormant PMJDY accounts were frozen, because the account holders had not transacted in over a year. A great deal of effort has gone into government initiatives to increase financial inclusion, but perforamance indicators such as dormancy in the PMJDY accounts is a reason for… Continue reading

Learnings from Cash Economy for DFS Providers

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Shakuntala is a 48-year old housewife, staying with her husband, two sons, their wives and a grandson in Siswan village, Varanasi. Her husband manages all the household expenses. In his absence, she goes to buy groceries at times. She, however, is solely responsible for purchasing clothes and jewellery for all the family members during the… Continue reading

Lessons from Orality for Digital Financial Services Development

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At 6:30 a.m.,in a busy wholesale vegetable market on the outskirts of Varanasi, Shanti Devi is haggling with the wholesale vendor of cauliflower. The price is negotiated at ₹300 a sack. Shanti takes out two ₹500 currency notes from her batua (cloth purse) and hands it to the vendor for two sacks. The vendor hands… Continue reading

Learning from (and about) India´s Emerging Digital Money Grid

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  The Government of India has embarked on a remarkable path to connect all its citizens onto a digital platform through which they can, in real-time, confirm their identity, financially transact with anyone else, and store relevant documentation in natively digital format and consent to it being shared digitally with others (for instance, to support… Continue reading

Will Mobile Network Operators Make It As Payments Banks?

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Of the remaining eight provisional Payments Bank licensees, four involve mobile network operators (MNOs): Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, and Reliance Jio.    This is not surprising, since successful Payments Banks will require a large footprint to serve a massive customer base, as it will be a volume game. MNOs’ existing customer base and extensive agent networks… Continue reading

Can Payments Banks Survive?

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The news that three of the provisional licensees, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Dilip Shanghvi and Tech Mahindra, have decided not to seek a full Payments Bank license, has caused much debate. The reasons for their withdrawal are varied – and not all necessarily based on the challenges posed by the underlying business model. Despite this, the… Continue reading

Open Application Programming Interfaces (API): Purpose and Possibilities

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Application Programming Interface or API, a software programme, acts as a bridge between disparate applications. It performs the intended function when a set of instructions are provided through a user interface (UI). The front-end of UI is usually a website or mobile application. The following diagram illustrates the basic architecture of any API-based business model:… Continue reading

Offline Payment Acceptance: A Puzzle and an Opportunity

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As Indians, we love cash, which is fungible and provides instant gratification – allowing us to buy anything across the country. Cash speaks one language, does not discriminate, and provides a seamless experience!   RBI estimates that 96% of all the retail transactions in the country are conducted using cash, leaving only about 4% payments… Continue reading

JAM – Using (Jan Dhan) Bank Accounts, Aadhaar and Mobiles to create new products and services, and new ways of doing things

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Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile or ‘JAM’ are creating a buzz in financial inclusion space, not only in India but across the world. JAM has been jamming newsrooms and social media after being coined in the Economic Survey 2015 and the Union Budget 2015.    The JAM trinity is seen as an important tool… Continue reading