Financial Inclusion in Action

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Why M-Wallets Won’t Work… Yet!


As you might expect, India has more competing mobile network operators (12) than any other country and is only slightly behind China for subscribers (~894 million). It is widely acknowledged as the fast growing mobile market in the world. India is also acknowledged as one of the most problematic anywhere for financial inclusion, particularly in… Continue reading

Follow the Money Approach: Introducing a powerful strategy tool for your mobile money / banking initiatives (Part I)


Let us start with a quick reality check. Most financial service institutions aspire to gain a bigger share of client’s wallet not only in terms of profit but also the value and number of transactions with them. This is true irrespective of whether you are a single, double or triple bottom line institution. Those in… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion: Success Is in the Details


Rajesh Gupta, a small tea shop owner in Madhubani, Bihar does not feel financially included yet. He has a bank account, but his card does not work in the branch ATM of a rival bank and his designated local bank agent is often unable to fulfil his and others’ cash-in/cash-out needs. (The agent has insufficient… Continue reading

Harnessing the Potential of Aadhaar via Digitisation


The real potential for achieving the desired results with Unique Identity Authority of India – UIDAI Aadhaar depends on the effective execution of digitisation of the welfare programmes, extending banking services to the weak and the unbanked sections and linking the above two with Aadhaar. The government proposal on DBTs includes all of these components. Apart from reducing the… Continue reading

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


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?


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


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”


(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?


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