Financial Inclusion in Action

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Building a Business Case for Women Agents

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Women agents provide great customer service. They are more attentive, helpful, diligent, and effective at building trust. They are also better at on-boarding women and other underserved populations than their male counterparts. These are often cited conclusions from a series of qualitative studies in India, Zambia, and other markets across Asia and Africa. At the same time, we still… Continue reading

Demystifying the Role of Master Agents

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Agents are deemed the lynchpin of any successful digital finance (mobile money or agent banking) roll-out. A plethora of literature has been written about the role they play in building successful and sustainable digital finance businesses.  Less attention has been paid to the critical work of Master Agents who constitute an important, if not crucial, element in the agent-based… Continue reading

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

Leveraging Fintech to Achieve Financial Inclusion in Indonesia

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Click here to read the blog in Bahasa Indonesia “Fintech” – an intersection of financial services and technology – is taking the traditional financial world by storm. Indonesia is no exception, with a fast-evolving ecosystem that includes a host of financial services offered by new generation fintechs. The diagram below, by no means exhaustive, highlights a… 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

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

Offline Payment Acceptance: A Puzzle and an Opportunity

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As Indians, we love cash, which is fungible and provides instant gratification – allowing us to buy anything across the country. Cash speaks one language, does not discriminate, and provides a seamless experience!   RBI estimates that 96% of all the retail transactions in the country are conducted using cash, leaving only about 4% payments… Continue reading

India Post – Initiatives to Facilitate G2P Payments

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India Post has extensive outreach in rural areas of Jharkhand with 13 Head Post Offices (HPOs), 454 Sub Post Offices (SPOs) and 2,643 Branch Post Office (BPOs).[1] With 3,097 (454 SPOs + 2,643 BPOs) outlets present in rural and semi-urban areas, India Post has a reach of at least one outlet for every two of the… Continue reading

Burgeoning ‘Typhoons’ in Digital Financial Services

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Typhoons are great engines of destruction. When a typhoon makes landfall it often produces a devastating storm surge that destroys everything in its path without mercy. The best defence against a typhoon is an accurate forecast that gives people time and means to get out of its way. It is therefore prudent to watch, watch… Continue reading

Financial Capability and Indian Digital Financial Services

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The World Bank Institute highlights that behavioural change with regard to financial capability is a non-linear process and requires more than receiving compelling information. For an evolving channel like DFS, which has several models of service delivery, this brings its own set of challenges. For DFS to be used to its full potential, it is… Continue reading