Financial Inclusion in Action

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The Potential for Technology-backed Remittance Solutions in Malaysia


Borhan is a Bangladeshi migrant employed at a bottling plant in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. He earns MYR 1,400 (~USD 334) each month. After covering his basic living expenses, Borhan is able to save MYR 750 (~USD 179) approximately. He remits this money to support his family back home in Dhaka. He uses informal… Continue reading

Can Fintech Really Deliver On Its Promise For Financial Inclusion?


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

Give us Some Credit! Meet the Digital Borrowers in Kenya


It is 3 am in Nairobi. The city, known for its vibrant nightlife, is wide awake. Entertainment spots in the bustling capital of Kenya overflow as the night goes on. The streets are a sea of activity, filled with pleasure-seekers. Interestingly, it is between 3 am and 5 am that a third of all the… Continue reading

How Can Providers Make Digital Credit More Profitable?


Many commentators have raised concerns about the interest rates charged for digital credit. And, given that the entire process is automated and dependent on computer algorithms rather than expensive human intervention and analysis, this seems reasonable. On the face of it, it is strange that the interest rates charged for digital credit should be closer… Continue reading

Setting Digital Credit Right – Is it Time For a Major Re-think?


MicroSave’s Graham Wright expertly highlighted a worrying trend in an article on digital credit published in January 2017. His article highlights the fact that negative listing is shutting out millions of users from accessing microlending services. This, in turn, has affected financial inclusion. Mr Wright estimates that around 2.7 million people in Kenya – around 10%… Continue reading

Digital Credit – Have We Not Been Here Before With Microfinance?


I worry that I may be getting old and cynical; but I am quite sure I’m suffering déjà vu. As we continue to celebrate the important breakthrough that digital credit provides in efforts to lend to the poor, I cannot help myself comparing it with microfinance. The parallels are clear to see: Insufficient emphasis on… Continue reading