Financial Inclusion in Action

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DFS Customer Development Opportunities in Nigeria


Customer development is a fundamental requirement for any business. In digital financial services (DFS), we can view customer development as a journey that comprises customer discovery, customer captivation, and appropriating value. Customer discovery involves finding out about potential customers, and understanding whether existing solutions are able to meet their needs. Customer captivation entails continuously sustaining… Continue reading

Three Areas DFS Providers Prioritise to Enhance Agent Networks


Since its launch in 2013, The Helix Institute has offered evidence-based insights, practical training and technical assistance on agent networks to DFS providers across Africa and Asia. We asked providers to tell us what steps they have taken to improve their agent networks after engaging with The Helix. This blog sums up their actions, classified… Continue reading

How Smart are Smartphone Lending Apps in Kenya?


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

Key New Year Resolutions for the Success of Digital Financial Services


First of all, let me reaffirm my belief that digital financial services (DFS) really do have the potential to provide financial inclusion for many (but perhaps not all) of the 2 billion un-banked. Its potential to reduce the costs of providing a range of financial services is an exciting prospect for those of us who… Continue reading

Working Together to Fight DFS Fraud


Fraud is one of the major threats to the emergence and sustainability of the DFS ecosystem. Uganda’s DFS market has long been plagued by fraud. The Helix 2015 ANA Uganda Report revealed that 53% of Uganda’s mobile money agents have experienced fraud within the last year – either personally or through one of their employees. At the recent launch of… Continue reading

Building a Business Case for Women Agents


Women agents provide great customer service. They are more attentive, helpful, diligent, and effective at building trust. They are also better at on-boarding women and other underserved populations than their male counterparts. These are often cited conclusions from a series of qualitative studies in India, Zambia, and other markets across Asia and Africa. At the same time, we still… Continue reading

Predictions for Regulators of Digital Financial Services

It is always dangerous to make predictions in an industry which is expanding and evolving rapidly, so it is with trepidation that I now do so. However, the predictions below are based on market insights and observations from working many years within the mass retail financial sectors and in Digital Financial Services (DFS). 1. DFS will… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Mobile Money (Part 1 of 3)


There has been a great deal of international discourse on the topic of mobile money after Kenya’s successful implementation of M-PESA, and as we recently wrote, the success is increasingly shared by banks. This is a clear victory for Kenyan customers, who now have more options to choose from.  However it also means that the financial… Continue reading

Agriculture Finance Isn’t as Risky!


Agriculture financing is a risky business for many financial institutions. Under its agriculture finance services, MicroSave works with financial institutions (FI) to develop appropriate products and a quality agriculture loan portfolio. Amhara Credit and Savings Institution (ACSI), a leading MFI in Ethiopia, with support of MicroSave grew its loan book from 1,300 loans to 36,000… Continue reading

Market Readiness for Mobile Money Interoperability


Interoperability of mobile financial services potentially offers great benefits for the wider ecosystem. The value to consumers is obvious. This, in turn, leads to wider adoption; higher transaction volumes; greater velocity of money in the ecosystem; all of which are advantageous to service providers. It is now well established from both MicroSave’s Helix Institute of Digital Finance and CGAP studies that… Continue reading