Financial Inclusion in Action

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Digital Credit – Have We Not Been Here Before With Microfinance?

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I worry that I may be getting old and cynical; but I am quite sure I’m suffering déjà vu. As we continue to celebrate the important breakthrough that digital credit provides in efforts to lend to the poor, I cannot help myself comparing it with microfinance. The parallels are clear to see: Insufficient emphasis on… Continue reading

Addressing the Soil Health Crisis in India

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The Green Revolution, probably the greatest achievement of post-independence India, heralded an era of food sufficiency riding on the use of chemical fertilisers. Now, 50 years on, soil health is rapidly declining. There is ample evidence to show that indiscriminate use of fertilisersis the major cause of deteriorating soil health. Indian farmers apply around 66… Continue reading

Redefining Retail Banking – Agency and Beyond

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Agency banking offers the prospect of much greater access to financial services for large numbers of currently unbanked or underbanked individuals – through financial institutions rolling out financial services using third party agents. However, agency banking is simply the latest element in a much wider technology-driven revolution in banking. Technology is redefining banking across the… Continue reading

How Smart are Smartphone Lending Apps in Kenya?

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The mobile digital credit revolution in Kenya has attracted many fintechs offering loans via smartphones. Smartphone-based products have been touted for their potential to improve the user experience for digital financial services, particularly among low literacy customers. However, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) finds that in India existing interfaces fail to realise… Continue reading

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

Demand and Supply Side Challenges and Potential Opportunities for Agency Banking in Uganda

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The Financial Institutions (Amendment) Act 2016, enabled agency banking in Uganda. What can financial institutions launching agency banking learn from existing data on the banking sector, from experience of mobile money, and from client expectations. The Financial Sector Deepening Programme (FSD) Uganda, commissioned MicroSave to find out. Teams from MicroSave conducted interviews and focus group… Continue reading

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