Financial Inclusion in Action

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Designing User-Friendly USSD Interface for Digital Financial Services

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According to Finscope 2014, it is estimated that 33% of Malawians have access to formal financial services. For any non-urban individual in Malawi, travelling to the nearest bank takes an average of more than an hour and a quarter. By contrast, 50% of adult Malawians have access to a mobile phone, 20% are aware about mobile… Continue reading

Guiding Financial Institution Strategy: Working on Small Data

There is a worldwide movement towards the use of Big Data[1] across many industries, including financial services. Many financial institutions in the South now have economists reporting to the Board, and a select few, including Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, have Chief Information Officers. Data warehousing is a common terminology, even if evident in few… Continue reading

Delivering Quality in Financial Services – Redefining Customer Service

Let’s face it: we’ve all had problems with our bank or financial service provider; there have been times when we’ve sat across from a Customer Service Officer (CSO) and been unhappy about the answers we’ve been given. A few years ago, this very challenge led my colleagues and myself to think that there was a… Continue reading

Where Are Women Agents in Indian DFS?

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Background In India, over 100 agent network managers (ANMs) are delivering digital financial services (DFS). Till March 2015, more than 600,000 agents were associated with ANMs in India, covering 92% of the country’s villages. There is, however, wide gender disparity amongst agents in India. For instance, according to a CGAP report, in 2012, only 15%… Continue reading

Agency Banking: How Female Agents Make a Difference

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Bilkis Banu sits along with a few of her customers in the veranda of her house and talks to us about the close bond that she shares with them. She was signed up as an agent to offer door-to-door cash deposit and withdrawal services for UCO Bank in February 2012 in Khormachali, a small village… Continue reading

Predictions for Regulators of Digital Financial Services

It is always dangerous to make predictions in an industry which is expanding and evolving rapidly, so it is with trepidation that I now do so. However, the predictions below are based on market insights and observations from working many years within the mass retail financial sectors and in Digital Financial Services (DFS). 1. DFS will… Continue reading

Understanding Gender Dynamics in Agent Banking

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MicroSave used its Market Insights for Innovations and Design (MI4ID) approach to conduct a series of studies in different parts of India. These studies sought to understand gender aspects of agent banking. The first part of this blog series highlights key findings aimed at understanding the differences in customer experience at an agent outlet based… Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-II)

In the first blog of this series we outlined the evolution and increasing sophistication of fraud in Uganda. The ingenuity of fraudsters is impressive. But what about the MNOs’ response? Have the providers set up systems improvements and processes geared toward checking such frauds? Talking to the staff of leading mobile money providers in Uganda,… Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-I)

Uganda has seen an explosive growth in mobile money adoption in the last few years, growing from 550,000 active users in 2009 to 5.2 million in 2012 (active on a 30 day basis) according to the Economic Regulation Unit’s Broadcasting & Telecommunications Market Review 2011/12. Now, the rate of mobile money account ownership outstrips bank… Continue reading

The OTC Trap – Impact on the Business Case for Uganda’s Mobile Network Operators

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Mobile money providers in Uganda are well aware of the Over The Counter (OTC) trap and its implications, but their response to it will be the subject of another, later blog. This blog examines why OTC matters – enormously – to all stakeholders in digital financial services (DFS). As highlighted by Pawan Bakshi, in “Beware the… Continue reading