Financial Inclusion in Action

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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

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

Two More Revolutions Underway in Kenya

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It is first quarter results and investors briefing season in Kenya, providing a chance to see how the market is evolving. And for the country’s leading financial services players, that evolution has been a profitable one. But behind the celebration of M-PESA’s remarkable payments revolution, and the continued growth of M-Shwari’s mobile banking services, there are two other important… Continue reading

Bending the Rules for Better Customer Service is probably a Good Thing

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Recently, a team of qualitative researchers interviewed sixty mobile money agents and users in Kenya and Uganda to understand the drivers of important behaviours like non-compliance.  The findings were intriguing since it was clear that the driver of agents breaking some rules and regulations was their ambition to provide excellent customer service and thus increase… Continue reading

The Better Service Agents Provide, The More Business They Do

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One of the major objectives of the Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) project is to determine which aspects of strategic operations really build the business case in the agency business. The Helix Institute has partnered with the Harvard Business School to dig deep into the data that is being collected and some of the initial findings are quite interesting. Specifically, agents… 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

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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

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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

Disruption is Simmering in Kenya

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Something disruptive has been simmering for some time now in Kenya’s rapidly evolving digital finance market. M-PESA the lauded and the most successful mobile money offering in the world has started to feel it too. At the core of the disruption is the “Thin-SIM”, a decade old technological innovation from China.  M-PESA – The Benchmark… Continue reading

Choosing An Agent Management Model

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One important question service providers have to ponder prior to entering the market is the agent hierarchy structure. Adopting a model which fits the market will save time, and money, and reduce stress levels for Senior Executives! The three models below illustrate the most common options available for service providers: The Direct Agent Hierarchy Model enables the… Continue reading