Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

Opportunities for Equitel to Disrupt Digital Finance in Kenya

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Equity Bank’s introduction of the thin SIM under the Equitel brand is an important development for the Kenyan financial market as it brings customers more choice in terms of providers, and will hopefully push product innovation further in a market that has had trouble evolving beyond payments.  We believe that to really make digital finance… Continue reading

Responsible Digital Finance: Seven Customer Risks that Need Attention Now

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Digital financial services are growing globally, with a variety of offerings (more than 250) now serving 300 million people in developing markets according to the GSMA. However, inactivity rates are staggeringly high, with as many as two-thirds of registered digital financial services users inactive, and the cross-sale of products beyond simple person-to-person transfers in many markets… Continue reading

More Sophisticated Agent Networks Signal a Maturing Digital Finance Industry

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Agents are critical to the customer experience of digital money services because they represent the first and most tangible service touch points for most end users. Agent networks are also probably the most operationally burdensome and costly element of the digital financial service value chain, typically costing anywhere between 40 and 80 percent of revenues generated from… Continue reading

The Powerful Agents & Fractured Markets of Pakistan

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Pakistan is easily one of the top five leading digital finance markets in the world; yet also certainly one of the least understood.  Anyone striving to learn about it must first understand how the Over-the-Counter (OTC) methodology adopted in Pakistan works, as it operates uniquely compared to other markets, especially those where it is unregulated. … Continue reading

Anchoring Agent Commissions: How Much is Enough?

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How much does an agent need to earn to be satisfied, and stay motivated enough to provide a high quality of service to customers? Behavioral science teaches us that people anchor their appraisals of value to other numbers around them in the ecosystem. Marketing firms understand this concept well, often enticing us to perceive a… Continue reading

The Ebbs & Flows of Liquidity Management

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Advanced Liquidity Management: While liquidity management is consistently cited as one of the most challenging elements of managing an agent network, there are times when it is more difficult than others.  People’s need to deposit, withdraw and send value fluctuates quite considerably, and so while an agent might understand how much e-float and cash to… Continue reading

The Human Touch Required to Evolve Digital Finance

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Service Offerings at Agents are Static & Rudimentary Across East Africa The Helix Institute’s research (2013) is showing that even after seven years of market development in Kenya, six years in Tanzania and five in Uganda, agents are still providing the same very rudimentary services that they did from the beginning.  The graph below shows that just about all… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – What Will It Take?

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In the blog “NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-I” we highlighted the range of benefits for both NBFC-MFIs and banks in arrangements under which NBFC-MFIs operate as BCs for banks. In“NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-II” we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the model for NBFC-MFIs. But of course the… Continue reading