Financial Inclusion in Action

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Market Readiness for Mobile Money Interoperability


Interoperability of mobile financial services potentially offers great benefits for the wider ecosystem. The value to consumers is obvious. This, in turn, leads to wider adoption; higher transaction volumes; greater velocity of money in the ecosystem; all of which are advantageous to service providers. It is now well established from both MicroSave’s Helix Institute of Digital Finance and CGAP studies that… Continue reading

Bangladesh Pioneering Unique Models & Innovations for Agent Networks


Earlier this year, The Helix Institute of Digital Finance conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,800 mobile money agents in Bangladesh, coupled with qualitative interviews across the country.The 2014 Bangladesh Country Report provides insights into some of the unique models and innovative techniques players in this country have designed to develop an agent network of approximately 160,000 agents in… Continue reading

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


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

Mobile financial services: Is there room for the small, the independent, the different, the nichy, the innovative?

We have seen in a number of countries how, when they work well, branchless banking and especially mobile money systems can reach millions of people. But beyond the headline numbers on customers reached, the record of such systems as a vehicle for financial inclusion is still mixed: we can hardly talk about a globally-proven solution.… Continue reading

Building and Sustaining Agent Networks – Evidence from Indonesia


Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous democracy with a population of 238 million people. An archipelago with more than 17,500 islands, the country is rich in cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity. However, access to formal financial products/services still remains elusive for most people. According to World Bank estimates only 20% of Indonesians (above 15 years)… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion and New Product Development — What Should Guide Us?

The answer is, of course, customer needs. Customers’ knowledge and perceptions about the financial services on offer—plus any challenges in accessing these services—are the other two major guiding factors. With all this in mind, any service provider can develop and then modify successful products. Easy to outline in a very short paragraph, easy to comprehend,… Continue reading

Mobile Money Merchant Payments – What does the Future Hold?


In October 2012, GSMA MMU asked the burning question; ‘Can mobile money work for merchant payments?’ Across the developed world cards are being swiped, dipped or waved to pay for everyday purchases, but the question remains if mobile money can, or will, have the same levels of usage in the developing world. Currently mobile money providers have… Continue reading

Mobile Money Agents in Uganda: Sprinting ahead, but the marathon’s not yet over


With 50% of cash-in/cash-out agents conducting at least 30 transactions per day, it is evident that Uganda is one of the world’s leading digital finance markets. However, despite its impressive growth, many operational challenges still persist. The Helix Institute of Digital Finance’s ‘Agent Network Accelerator Survey: Uganda Country Report 2013’ (conducted by MicroSave and the Bill & Melinda Gates… Continue reading

Choosing An Agent Management Model


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

Can India Achieve Financial Inclusion Without the Mobile Network Operators?


India is attempting to create financial inclusion using direct benefit transfers as the flywheel that turns the engine of an electronic payment system, the creating volumes and interoperability necessary for real financial inclusion. Currently volumes at rural agents are simply not adequate – resulting in very low commissions and debilitating levels of agent churn. Furthermore,… Continue reading