Financial Inclusion in Action

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Mobile Phones and Money: Less Technology at a Much Lower Cost

Almost everyone agrees financial inclusion is a worthwhile and important goal. We’re not going to improve health, education, sanitation, and business prospects for the very poor, in India and elsewhere, until money moves around more efficiently and safely. But building and maintaining a workable system for better savings, money transfers, and payments, particularly in rural… Continue reading

The Aadhaar story in East Godavari

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At a time when the country is working to enrol 600 million Indians for Aadhaar by 2014, the East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh has achieved remarkable results. With over 99.50% Aadhaar enrolments as of 25th December 2012, the district administration has set a remarkable precedent for others to follow. They are now able to… Continue reading

Great Business for Banks – So Why Are They Slow To Build Agency Banking?

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MicroSave has been advocating that banks need to get into agent-based banking as a high potential business for several years now … as well as warning why most banks are so slow to do so. Earlier in the year we highlighted the remarkable progress that Equity Bank has made as it rolls out its agency… Continue reading

Virtual Money is Virtually Ageless

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I’ve been arguing for a while that the mobile phone shouldn’t just be a payment instrument: it should be a planning or accounting tool. A mechanism that captures how people keep tabs of their various pots of value, goals and amounts due is more likely to then in turn capture the transactions that derive from… Continue reading

“Why Rob Agents? Because That’s Where the Money Is”

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(with apologies to Willie Sutton, US Bank Robber, 1901-1980) One of our staff was nearly lynched recently. People were piling up tyres and bringing petrol to burn him alive. He was only rescued by a series of frantic calls and the intervention of the police and the Regional Manager of the mobile network operator with… Continue reading

Why Do (Some) MNOs Sprint and (Most) Banks Limp?

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A previous MMU blog “Can India Achieve Financial Inclusion Without the Mobile Network Operators?” concluded “MNO-led systems therefore have a hugely important role to play to create the market – to build people’s confidence in digital financial services and local agent-based systems – and thus lay the foundation for digital financial inclusion.” All well and… Continue reading

The Need for Intuition Rather than Simplicity Around Account Features

In a previous post, we explored how creative naming systems might be used to inject a sense of individualised relevance and personal ownership over a set of otherwise standard sub-accounts. Because they are intangible, engaging sub-account names may become hooks onto which people can project their own financial mental models and goals. But the least… Continue reading

Naming Sub-Accounts to Trigger Intuition (and Fun) Around Customer Intentions

Imagine you are operating a mobile money system, and you want to enhance the service by offering digital jam jars, essentially sub-accounts to which the user can assign different purposes and characteristics. The first issue you’ll have is: what to call them? That’s already different to the experience with traditional jam jars: because you experience… Continue reading

The Aadhaar Way

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Opposition to cash substitution for public services has delved, to an extent, on the not-so-widely tried Aadhaar enabled system for identification. However, work done by MicroSave, examining the implementation of the Aadhaar enabled schemes using the Unique Identification of India (UIDAI) platform shows there is much evidence to suggest that the system could, indeed, work.… Continue reading

Why Is the Chicken Afraid to Cross the Road?

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In midtown Manhattan, native New Yorkers and veteran commuters like to play a game called “chicken” with oncoming traffic, especially at rush hour. They step off the pavement as the light is turning red, or simply because it’s been red for an unacceptable waiting period, and stride fearlessly into the car lanes. They make no… Continue reading