Financial Inclusion in Action

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“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

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


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?


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

What If Six Billion People Had Smartphones?


Six billion is close to the number of current mobile subscribers around the world, according to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union). Since 26% of the 7 billion total are children, that means most adults, rich and poor, now have access to a mobile device. Let’s consider what this might mean with regard to smartphones:  By… Continue reading

Understanding Complex Human Financial Behaviour: Alternative Approaches


As we discussed in our earlier blog post, MetaMon project was an ambitious one. In the project we aspired to decipher the inherent thinking process that drives financial decision making of the poor. In MicroSave’s earlier research around financial lives, we realised that conversations about money often turn philosophical. This is because they revolve around… Continue reading

Can India Achieve Financial Inclusion Without the Mobile Network Operators?


India is attempting to create financial inclusion using direct benefit transfers as the flywheel that turns the engine of an electronic payment system, the creating volumes and interoperability necessary for real financial inclusion. Currently volumes at rural agents are simply not adequate – resulting in very low commissions and debilitating levels of agent churn. Furthermore,… Continue reading

Mobile Money: Rosy Vs Real


Most people reading this blog already understand that the headlines trumpeting the advantages and steady gains in moving money around via mobile phones, and even edging out credit/debit cards (The Wall Street Journal , the BBC and Marketing  are recent examples), refer to the projected 894 million  mobile-banking users of smart phones and tablets—not the… Continue reading