Financial Inclusion in Action

Read, Share, and Discuss

More Sophisticated Agent Networks Signal a Maturing Digital Finance Industry

Header3c

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

What’s Undermining India’s Financial Inclusion Progress?

Header3c

The Government of India is undertaking the most ambitious financial inclusion drive in history. The effort has two key elements: the financial inclusion plan called Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and direct benefit transfer (DBT) payments from the government into beneficiaries’ bank accounts. The success of these efforts hinges on one factor above all: the quality of the… Continue reading

Can “Behavioural Science” Bell Scheme Design Cat? Insights from Exploratory Research on the Public Distribution System in India

Header3c

Having tasted success with the Modified Direct Benefit Transfer for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (MDBTL) through Pahal (though sceptics have their doubts), the Government of India is dropping hints that it plans to expand the ambit of DBT further to other subsidy programmes. At about INR 460 billion ($7.4 billion), MDBTL seems to be huge, but… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? Part III

The first blog in this series Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part I) highlighted that over the counter (OTC) transactions alone cannot deliver the digitally enabled financial inclusion many of us are working towards. The second Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part II)  noted that despite this OTC transactions… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? Part II

Header3c

In the previous blog Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? (Part I) I looked at why over the counter (OTC) transactions alone cannot deliver the digitally enabled financial inclusion many of us are working towards.  A later blog in the series will examine the implications of OTC for providers and customers – many… Continue reading

Over The Counter Transactions – Liberation Or A Trap? – Part I

Header3c

The Cause For Concern I am back obsessing about over the counter (OTC) transactions again. Before we dive in let’s quickly define OTC transactions as they come in many forms in different markets – from the direct deposit by the agent into the end-user’s wallet in Kenya to the transfer of money from one agent… Continue reading

Keeping the Channel Happy for Quick Scale-up: A Case from the Mumbai Remittance Market

Header3c

Remittances have emerged as the most common anchor product offered by alternate banking channels, (banking channels used by the unbanked such as money transfer agents), particularly in large Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Huge unmet demand for sending money home efficiently and quickly, combined with willingness to pay for the service, has made over… Continue reading

How Many Accounts Does A Man Have To Open To Be Financially Included?

Header3c

It was a hot afternoon during one of our recent agent network assessment studies, when I got the opportunity to meet Raju. He seemed no different from the typical participants in our focus group discussions in Bihar. A farmer somewhere in his middle 30s, thin and frail, wearing a half-sleeved ‘baniyan’ (vest) and pants with… Continue reading

Mobile Money and Microfinance: A Match Made in Heaven or Marriage Gone Awry?

Header3c

Use of mobile money in microfinance seems to be an idea whose time has come. It has also figured in our publications as potentially the next big idea in financial inclusion (see Can MNOs Lead the Way for Banking the Excluded 1 and 2 as well as Mobile Money – Influencers of Success and Speculation on… Continue reading