Financial Inclusion in Action

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Will Mobile Network Operators Make It As Payments Banks?

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Of the remaining eight provisional Payments Bank licensees, four involve mobile network operators (MNOs): Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, and Reliance Jio.    This is not surprising, since successful Payments Banks will require a large footprint to serve a massive customer base, as it will be a volume game. MNOs’ existing customer base and extensive agent networks… Continue reading

Open Application Programming Interfaces (API): Purpose and Possibilities

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Application Programming Interface or API, a software programme, acts as a bridge between disparate applications. It performs the intended function when a set of instructions are provided through a user interface (UI). The front-end of UI is usually a website or mobile application. The following diagram illustrates the basic architecture of any API-based business model:… Continue reading

Democratising Financial Services

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Sheetal, a 41 year-old widow, is a vegetable hawker and lives by herself in Mumbai. She wanted to expand her business by adding more stock and buying a new wheel-cart. She has a bank account, opened under the Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana. She could not avail credit from her bank for lack of any… Continue reading

Thoughts on DFS in “Europe Minus Infrastructure” – DRC!

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“Europe minus infrastructure”? This was the term that James Mwangi, CEO of Equity Group, used in an Equity Group briefing when describing and explaining Equity Banks’ move into DRC by purchasing ProCredit Bank Congo.  I have been thinking about which country might be the following some of the leading digital financial services (DFS) countries like… 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

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

The Mor Committee Report – Will Payment Banks Be Revolutionary or Evolutionary?

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One of the more debated aspects of the Mor Committee’s report on “Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households” is the proposal for the new class of banks, in particular the “Payments Banks”. While it is probably a stretch to assert that this is an “incremental step” from the existing (Pre-Paid Instrument… Continue reading