Financial Inclusion in Action

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State of Play – Insights on the Evolution of Pakistan’s Mobile Money Agent Network

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The success of a branchless banking network is entirely dependent on the ability of its agents to deliver high-quality services to the target market, that are in line with providers’ objectives. Three years ago, the Helix Institute of Digital Finance’s team first set off to study Pakistan’s agent network and inform on its efficiency, providing insights for improvement, as… Continue reading

The Unrealised Potential of Mobile Wallets in Pakistan

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Currently, Over the Counter (OTC) transactions in Pakistan account for just over half (52%) of Branchless Banking Transactions[1] by value and less (42%) by volume. The vibrancy of OTC transactions could provide a stepping stone to mobile wallets. This, in turn, would enable the deepening of the digital financial ecosystem through advanced service offerings for… Continue reading

A First Look at Indonesia’s Emerging Agent Network

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Digital Financial Services (DFS) emerged in Indonesia in 2007, with e-money services targeted at the middle income and affluent segments rather than the unbanked and underbanked masses. In 2014, regulators allowed banks and e-money providers[1] to use individual agents, paving the way for the emergence of agent networks. Since then, financial inclusion has become an… Continue reading

A Strategic Approach for Next-Generation DFS Agent Networks

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With special thanks and acknowledgement to Abhinav Sinha (EKO India), Tamara Cook (FSD Kenya), Kwame Oppong (CGAP), Paul Mbugua (Eclectics), Paul Musoke (FSD Africa), and Abigail Komu (Independent Consultant). Some people may argue that agent networks will soon go extinct. Even if that is the case, it will not happen until long into the future.… Continue reading

Liquidity – Solving Agents’ Perennial Problem

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Based on insightful inputs from Maurice Oyare (PesaPoint), Joseck Mudiri (IFC), Edwin Otieno (Software Group), George Muga (Airtel-Africa), Edwin Odira (Telkom), Paul Langlois-Meurinne (Optimetrics), Nic Wasunna (GSMA) and Wilfred Ndirangu (Eclectics). The Helix Institute’s Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) surveys show that agents across the globe cite four key challenges to effective liquidity management. Almost all… Continue reading

More Than Hygiene – Improving Agent Network Performance to Maximise Profitability

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Over the last four years, as part of the Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) project, we have interviewed more than 34,000 agents from over 40 leading providers of digital financial services (DFS) across 11 countries in Asia and Africa. So what did we learn? Agent Dedication and Exclusivity is Declining We see a general trend towards… Continue reading

Three Areas DFS Providers Prioritise to Enhance Agent Networks

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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

Setting Digital Credit Right – Is it Time For a Major Re-think?

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MicroSave’s Graham Wright expertly highlighted a worrying trend in an article on digital credit published in January 2017. His article highlights the fact that negative listing is shutting out millions of users from accessing microlending services. This, in turn, has affected financial inclusion. Mr Wright estimates that around 2.7 million people in Kenya – around 10%… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Digital Deposits (Part 3 of 3)

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This is the third blog in a three part series, which compares digital financial service offerings in Kenya. The first blog focused on mobile money services, the second one analysed digital credit and this one analyses digital deposits. Digital deposit accounts are a controversial topic in digital finance. Many analysts note that mobile money providers cannot offer interest on the balance… Continue reading

The Bricks and Mortar of Agent Networks: Training and Support in India

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While the first blog in this series explained how Indian Government mandates have determined the current character of the digital finance services (DFS) market in India, this blog is more forward looking, focusing on addressing issues of agent training and support.  The 2015 ANA India data shows that these are areas where providers are struggling, and are therefore also opportunities… Continue reading