The SEEP Network defines digital savings groups (DSGs) as “technologies and systems that digitize savings group records, procedures or transactions.” What is most exciting about the growing range of DSG solutions is their potential for scale – creating new incentives for market actors, reducing the cost of training, and dramatically increasing the potential for outreach. Digital savings groups may also improve the user experience, offering greater transparency and time efficiency for members; and enhance impact, expanding access to financial and non-financial services in underserved markets.
This learning brief, based on a survey of 12 DSG solution providers, examines the design options and essential tradeoffs in solution development. The target audience includes philanthropic entities, as well as private sector actors – impact investors, microfinance investment funds, banks, non-bank lenders and mobile network operators – that recognize the commercial potential of new digital approaches for savings groups. Fintech innovators may also find this document useful for identifying new opportunities and risks in developing digital solutions for savings groups.