Financial Inclusion in Action

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The “I Don’t Have Enough Float” Quandary!

Ugali is cornmeal porridge and a staple of the Kenyan diet; it is as Kenyan as M-PESA.  Last time my mother was making it, she ran out of cooking gas and texted me frantically to send her money so she could buy gas and finish cooking dinner before it got soggy.  I ran to the… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? Part III

The first blog in this series Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part I) highlighted that over the counter (OTC) transactions alone cannot deliver the digitally enabled financial inclusion many of us are working towards. The second Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part II)  noted that despite this OTC transactions… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? Part II

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In the previous blog Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part I) I looked at why over the counter (OTC) transactions alone cannot deliver the digitally enabled financial inclusion many of us are working towards.  A later blog in the series will examine the implications of OTC for providers and customers – many… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? – Part I

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The Cause For Concern I am back obsessing about over the counter (OTC) transactions again. Before we dive in let’s quickly define OTC transactions as they come in many forms in different markets – from the direct deposit by the agent into the end-user’s wallet in Kenya to the transfer of money from one agent… 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

Keeping the Channel Happy for Quick Scale-up: A Case from the Mumbai Remittance Market

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Remittances have emerged as the most common anchor product offered by alternate banking channels, (banking channels used by the unbanked such as money transfer agents), particularly in large Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Huge unmet demand for sending money home efficiently and quickly, combined with willingness to pay for the service, has made over… Continue reading

How Many Accounts Does A Man Have To Open To Be Financially Included?

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It was a hot afternoon during one of our recent agent network assessment studies, when I got the opportunity to meet Raju. He seemed no different from the typical participants in our focus group discussions in Bihar. A farmer somewhere in his middle 30s, thin and frail, wearing a half-sleeved ‘baniyan’ (vest) and pants with… 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

Market Readiness for Mobile Money Interoperability

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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

Bangladesh Pioneering Unique Models & Innovations for Agent Networks

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Earlier this year, The Helix Institute of Digital Finance conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,800 mobile money agents in Bangladesh, coupled with qualitative interviews across the country.The 2014 Bangladesh Country Report provides insights into some of the unique models and innovative techniques players in this country have designed to develop an agent network of approximately 160,000 agents in… Continue reading