Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

Progress and Challenges with KYC and Digital ID

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Based on great inputs and discussions from Amrik Heyer, FSD Kenya, Stephen Mwaura, former Head of Payments, Central Bank of Kenya, Uma Shankar Paliwal, Former Executive Director, RBI, Dennis Njau, Head of Channels, Kenya Commercial Bank, Gang Chai, Payment Policy Manager, Central Bank of Nigeria, and Johnah Nzioki from Eclectics. “Identification provides a foundation for… Continue reading

Learnings from Cash Economy for DFS Providers

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Shakuntala is a 48-year old housewife, staying with her husband, two sons, their wives and a grandson in Siswan village, Varanasi. Her husband manages all the household expenses. In his absence, she goes to buy groceries at times. She, however, is solely responsible for purchasing clothes and jewellery for all the family members during the… Continue reading

Learning from (and about) India´s Emerging Digital Money Grid

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  The Government of India has embarked on a remarkable path to connect all its citizens onto a digital platform through which they can, in real-time, confirm their identity, financially transact with anyone else, and store relevant documentation in natively digital format and consent to it being shared digitally with others (for instance, to support… Continue reading

Key New Year Resolutions for the Success of Digital Financial Services

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First of all, let me reaffirm my belief that digital financial services (DFS) really do have the potential to provide financial inclusion for many (but perhaps not all) of the 2 billion un-banked. Its potential to reduce the costs of providing a range of financial services is an exciting prospect for those of us who… 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

Making Digital Financial Services Relevant – Part 3

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Some Design Ideas and Principles to Make Digital Financial Services Relevant Across the globe, there is an exponential growth in the adoption of technology and digital tools. Technology enabled advancements including smartphones, social media adoption and data usage are increasingly penetrating the mass market, in India as elsewhere. This is further accentuated by the ever-declining… Continue reading

Making Digital Financial Services Relevant – Part 2

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How do People Manage their Money? In part 1 of this blog series we looked at the customer profile for digital financial services. In this blog, we explore the mechanisms used by customers for managing money and the key drivers for adoption of these mechanisms. This blog post borrows quite heavily from Money Resolutions, A Sketch… Continue reading

Making Digital Money More Relevant, More Often – Part 1

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Who are the Customers? Adoption of digital financial services are growing year on year, across most developing country markets. GSMA, in its 2014 State of the Industry Report, states that mobile money is now present in 89 out of 135 markets, and in 16 countries the number of mobile money accounts exceeds the number of… Continue reading

Kenya Moves Beyond M-PESA

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Since the launch of M-PESA in 2007 the story of digital finance in Kenya has been synonymous with that of the story of M-PESA. However, data just released from The Helix Institute of Digital Finance shows that this now seems to be changing, which is exciting to watch, and also important understand. In 2013, The… Continue reading