Financial Inclusion in Action

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The Clear Blue Water on the Other Side of the Digital Divide

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In the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion in Accra, I was asked to participate in a debate, arguing for the proposition that “disruptive innovation is no longer relevant to the needs of the poor.” Not easy for someone who has been deeply involved with optimising the delivery of digital financial services (or electronic banking as… Continue reading

Smart Electronic Ticketing for Public Transport

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We met Kinnee at one of the Vodafone e-ticketing roadshows. She, like other Fijians, had queued up at the Vodafone canopy to get her eTransport card. This digital card has been designed to replace the existing cash-based fare collection system across buses in Fiji. There was something that made Kinnee’s case particularly interesting – she… Continue reading

Can Fintech Really Deliver On Its Promise For Financial Inclusion?

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At the recent MasterCard Foundation Symposium on Financial Inclusion, I was asked to participate in the closing debate. A great honour. However, I was asked to support the proposition that “Disruptive innovations in the financial sector can no longer respond to the daily challenges of poor people”. Ouch! For all my critiques of digital financial… Continue reading

Foresight in a FinTech Forest – Financial Technology Drives a Digital Banking Response

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We’ve reached an inflexion point in banking, more pronounced and more fundamental than any which has preceded. The financial technology (FinTech) revolution promises dramatic improvements in customer experience and fundamental changes in how banking is informed and how it is conducted.  Financial institutions must make critical choices if they are to compete in the new… Continue reading

Redefining Retail Banking – Agency and Beyond

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Agency banking offers the prospect of much greater access to financial services for large numbers of currently unbanked or underbanked individuals – through financial institutions rolling out financial services using third party agents. However, agency banking is simply the latest element in a much wider technology-driven revolution in banking. Technology is redefining banking across the… Continue reading

Can Payments Banks Survive?

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The news that three of the provisional licensees, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Dilip Shanghvi and Tech Mahindra, have decided not to seek a full Payments Bank license, has caused much debate. The reasons for their withdrawal are varied – and not all necessarily based on the challenges posed by the underlying business model. Despite this, the… Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 3 – What Happened and Where Are We Today?

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In the previous blog “The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 2 – Beyond the Basics” we discussed the details of building a customer-centric, or market-led financial service provider – and the intricate jigsaw puzzle of skills, processes, incentives, planning and execution required to pull it off. Results So, did all of… Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 2 – Beyond the Basics

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In the first part of this blog, we saw how just understanding customer demand is not enough to deliver mass financial inclusion … or even a successful product. Supply-side factors are key…if rather more difficult that a quick market research exercise. Even after careful pilot-testing and a structure roll-out, it turned out that all that… Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Customer-Centricity in Financial Inclusion Part 1 – Why Being Customer-Centric is a Supply Side Strategy

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In recent years Human Centred Design became a new focus area in the financial inclusion world.  It focused financial service providers on the design of products and services based on customer insights. Design firms became part of the technical provider fraternity, servicing financial service providers in the quest to improved inclusion. At the same time, the… Continue reading

Can “Behavioural Science” Bell Scheme Design Cat? Insights from Exploratory Research on the Public Distribution System in India

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Having tasted success with the Modified Direct Benefit Transfer for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (MDBTL) through Pahal (though sceptics have their doubts), the Government of India is dropping hints that it plans to expand the ambit of DBT further to other subsidy programmes. At about INR 460 billion ($7.4 billion), MDBTL seems to be huge, but… Continue reading