Financial Inclusion in Action

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Agent Network Evolution: From License to Live

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When the champagne bottle is popped for the successful launch of a digital financial service (mobile money/ agent banking) agent network, nobody – hopefully, with the exception of the agent network manager (ANM) – seems to appreciate the efforts behind ensuring the product launch is premised on an immediate start in transactions.  This is paramount… 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

A Government to Person (G2P) Payment Delivery Agent in India: At Heart and In Practice

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This blog highlights the tasks of a CSP and the stages involved to make G2P payment delivery to the last mile – right from their (CSP) recruitment to final payment. It also suggests a few improvements recommended by CSPs. Aalia begum and Aasia begum have been working as Customer Service Providers (CSPs) for the past… Continue reading

Why Do (Some) MNOs Sprint and (Most) Banks Limp?

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A previous MMU blog “Can India Achieve Financial Inclusion Without the Mobile Network Operators?” concluded “MNO-led systems therefore have a hugely important role to play to create the market – to build people’s confidence in digital financial services and local agent-based systems – and thus lay the foundation for digital financial inclusion.” All well and… Continue reading

The Aadhaar Way

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Opposition to cash substitution for public services has delved, to an extent, on the not-so-widely tried Aadhaar enabled system for identification. However, work done by MicroSave, examining the implementation of the Aadhaar enabled schemes using the Unique Identification of India (UIDAI) platform shows there is much evidence to suggest that the system could, indeed, work.… Continue reading

Understanding Complex Human Financial Behaviour: Alternative Approaches

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As we discussed in our earlier blog post, MetaMon project was an ambitious one. In the project we aspired to decipher the inherent thinking process that drives financial decision making of the poor. In MicroSave’s earlier research around financial lives, we realised that conversations about money often turn philosophical. This is because they revolve around… Continue reading

Can India Achieve Financial Inclusion Without the Mobile Network Operators?

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India is attempting to create financial inclusion using direct benefit transfers as the flywheel that turns the engine of an electronic payment system, the creating volumes and interoperability necessary for real financial inclusion. Currently volumes at rural agents are simply not adequate – resulting in very low commissions and debilitating levels of agent churn. Furthermore,… Continue reading

Mobile Money: Rosy Vs Real

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Most people reading this blog already understand that the headlines trumpeting the advantages and steady gains in moving money around via mobile phones, and even edging out credit/debit cards (The Wall Street Journal , the BBC and Marketing  are recent examples), refer to the projected 894 million  mobile-banking users of smart phones and tablets—not the… Continue reading

Paint by Numbers: Profiles of Bank Agents in India

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India’s financial inclusion efforts remain in a difficult transition period. And agents, or business correspondents, as they are known here, are not the all-purpose, “last link” solution everyone had imagined between banks and low-income, remote or migrant customers. Despite the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) commendable efforts to move financial inclusion aggressively forward (this year's… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion Just Became More Inclusive…Maybe

On 22 February, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that companies from any business sector will be allowed to seek a banking license. A strong part of the rationale behind this controversial and surprising move from India’s generally conservative central bank and regulator is the need to bring more banking services, more efficiently and… Continue reading