Financial Inclusion in Action

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Solving Customer Service Issues in Digital Finance – Can Do, Must Do

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There is a growing interest in, and appreciation of the importance of, customer service in digital financial services (DFS), for reasons explained highlighted in the previous blog in this series  (See “In Our Digital Financial Service We Trust?”). GSMA recently released a code of conduct for mobile money service providers. CGAP is also playing a… Continue reading

The Powerful Agents & Fractured Markets of Pakistan

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Pakistan is easily one of the top five leading digital finance markets in the world; yet also certainly one of the least understood.  Anyone striving to learn about it must first understand how the Over-the-Counter (OTC) methodology adopted in Pakistan works, as it operates uniquely compared to other markets, especially those where it is unregulated. … Continue reading

Should Microfinance Go Digital?

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“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”- Victor Hugo Recently, a new partnership has emerged between digital financial service providers and microfinance institutions to address the challenges of financial access among the un/under banked populations globally. The partnership can potentially offer benefits to not only the two partners but also other… Continue reading

Anchoring Agent Commissions: How Much is Enough?

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How much does an agent need to earn to be satisfied, and stay motivated enough to provide a high quality of service to customers? Behavioral science teaches us that people anchor their appraisals of value to other numbers around them in the ecosystem. Marketing firms understand this concept well, often enticing us to perceive a… 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

Bangladesh Pioneering Unique Models & Innovations for Agent Networks

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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

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-II)

In the first blog of this series we outlined the evolution and increasing sophistication of fraud in Uganda. The ingenuity of fraudsters is impressive. But what about the MNOs’ response? Have the providers set up systems improvements and processes geared toward checking such frauds? Talking to the staff of leading mobile money providers in Uganda,… Continue reading

Survival of the Fittest: The Evolution of Frauds in Uganda’s Mobile Money Market (Part-I)

Uganda has seen an explosive growth in mobile money adoption in the last few years, growing from 550,000 active users in 2009 to 5.2 million in 2012 (active on a 30 day basis) according to the Economic Regulation Unit’s Broadcasting & Telecommunications Market Review 2011/12. Now, the rate of mobile money account ownership outstrips bank… Continue reading

The OTC Trap – Impact on the Business Case for Uganda’s Mobile Network Operators

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Mobile money providers in Uganda are well aware of the Over The Counter (OTC) trap and its implications, but their response to it will be the subject of another, later blog. This blog examines why OTC matters – enormously – to all stakeholders in digital financial services (DFS). As highlighted by Pawan Bakshi, in “Beware the… Continue reading