Financial Inclusion in Action

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Can Payments Banks Survive?

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The news that three of the provisional licensees, Cholamandalam Distribution Services, Dilip Shanghvi and Tech Mahindra, have decided not to seek a full Payments Bank license, has caused much debate. The reasons for their withdrawal are varied – and not all necessarily based on the challenges posed by the underlying business model. Despite this, the… 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

e-KYC and the India Stack – A Transformative Blueprint for Emerging Markets

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A student newly admitted at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, wants a new mobile SIM, so she can talk to her parents back home in Eldoret. Her national identity card is used to establish her identity. A 32-year-old widow of a landless labourer in Bihar walks up to a Bank Mitr agent to open an account, so… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Digital Credit (Part 2 of 3)

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This is the second blog in a three part series, which compares digital financial service offerings in Kenya. The first blog focused on mobile money services and this second one delves into mobile banking services, focusing on digital credit.  These are certainly the most complicated but also the most exciting services given their potential to deepen financial inclusion… Continue reading

Competition in the Kenyan Digital Finance Market: Mobile Money (Part 1 of 3)

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There has been a great deal of international discourse on the topic of mobile money after Kenya’s successful implementation of M-PESA, and as we recently wrote, the success is increasingly shared by banks. This is a clear victory for Kenyan customers, who now have more options to choose from.  However it also means that the financial… 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

Opportunities for Equitel to Disrupt Digital Finance in Kenya

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Equity Bank’s introduction of the thin SIM under the Equitel brand is an important development for the Kenyan financial market as it brings customers more choice in terms of providers, and will hopefully push product innovation further in a market that has had trouble evolving beyond payments.  We believe that to really make digital finance… Continue reading

Lessons from Informal Financial Systems: Indonesian Perspective

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Over the past few years MicroSave has conducted several research studies in Indonesia[1] to understand the household level financial ecosystem. Through focus group discussions (FGDs) and participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) tools, we gained insights on access to, and use of, financial products in communities across Indonesia. This blog focuses on the role of informal institutions… Continue reading

The Ebbs & Flows of Liquidity Management

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Advanced Liquidity Management: While liquidity management is consistently cited as one of the most challenging elements of managing an agent network, there are times when it is more difficult than others.  People’s need to deposit, withdraw and send value fluctuates quite considerably, and so while an agent might understand how much e-float and cash to… Continue reading

The Human Touch Required to Evolve Digital Finance

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Service Offerings at Agents are Static & Rudimentary Across East Africa The Helix Institute’s research (2013) is showing that even after seven years of market development in Kenya, six years in Tanzania and five in Uganda, agents are still providing the same very rudimentary services that they did from the beginning.  The graph below shows that just about all… Continue reading