Financial Inclusion in Action

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Embracing A Market-led Approach To Developing Product Concepts

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According to the World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion Database, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have an account at a financial institution. Among the many factors that are responsible for this high level of financial exclusion, poor design of financial products is key. Why, then, is it so difficult to design financial services for… Continue reading

The Bricks and Mortar of Agent Networks: Training and Support in India

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While the first blog in this series explained how Indian Government mandates have determined the current character of the digital finance services (DFS) market in India, this blog is more forward looking, focusing on addressing issues of agent training and support.  The 2015 ANA India data shows that these are areas where providers are struggling, and are therefore also opportunities… Continue reading

Are the $2 Billion Annual Savings Arising from PAHAL Real?

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The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), Government of India announced its ambitious “Direct Benefit Transfer for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (DBTL)” programme on January 1, 2013. The programme had two key objectives: i) limiting subsidy outlay through de-duplication; and ii) achieving efficiency in payment transfers. Aadhaar, the unique identification system was the backbone of… Continue reading

Training, Monitoring & Support – Necessary Or An Opportunity To Cut Costs?

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While only 27% of agent network managers receive good support and involvement from the banks for which they are providing services, another 55%  do say that they receive moderate support, as per MicroSave’s recent State of the Industry Report 2015 on India note. The India 2015 ANA survey results enable us to understand this further by… Continue reading

Digital Financial Inclusion In India – A Long Road To Take-Off?

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The history of India’s efforts to achieve digital financial inclusion has been diverse, but largely top-down. These efforts have produced a mixture of RBI regulations and advices for banks, and government policies and directives. Most recently, the RBI provided guidelines for differentiated banks (Payments and Small Finance Banks) specifically designed to deepen outreach and enhance… Continue reading

Small Finance Banks – Are You Ready? The Opportunities and Challenges

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Small Finance Banks reiterate the Reserve Bank of India’s commitment to achieve financial inclusion by supporting the development of institutions that offer innovative ‘high technology, low-cost operations’ driven financial services. Key highlights of Small Finance Banks Small Finance Banks (SFBs) shall primarily undertake basic banking activities including acceptance of deposits and lending credit to unserved… Continue reading

Agent Networks In India – How Mandates Have Influenced the Landscape

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There is a key difference in how the Digital Financial Services (DFS) market in India has evolved when compared to other countries. While in most countries the expansion of DFS along with agent networks has been driven by profit, the growth of DFS in India has essentially been the result of government mandates. The mandates… Continue reading

Designing an Effective User Interface for USSD: Part 1

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Suraj is an illiterate migrant from Muzzafarpur (Bihar) who works at a construction site in Delhi. He has recently opened a mobile wallet with a leading mobile network operator (MNO) in India. When we met him, his primary concern was – “How would I use my (mobile money) account, when I don’t even know where… Continue reading

More Sophisticated Agent Networks Signal a Maturing Digital Finance Industry

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Agents are critical to the customer experience of digital money services because they represent the first and most tangible service touch points for most end users. Agent networks are also probably the most operationally burdensome and costly element of the digital financial service value chain, typically costing anywhere between 40 and 80 percent of revenues generated from… Continue reading

Can Self-Service Channels Be The Next Frontier Of Financial Inclusion?

Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure in India has made rapid strides in the last decade.  It has been estimated that a 10% increase in broadband connectivity leads to a 1.38% increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)1. While urban India has witnessed an exponential growth in mobile and internet access, rural India is lagging behind.… Continue reading