Digital Frontiers

Technology and Operational Enablers

ARTICLES

Achieving Development and Acceptance of an Open and Inclusive Digital Payments Infrastructure

This report was developed for financial inclusion policymakers and payment service regulators, this note proposes policy options and practical actions that can help moving toward developing open and inclusive digital payment infrastructures, while also incentivizing the acceptance and use of digital payments.

Data Protection and Privacy for Alternative Data

The objective of this paper is to provide guidance for countries to use in considering key options to mitigate risks associated with data protection and privacy, especially related to alternative data, but not to direct adoption of unduly prescriptive legislative provisions.

A Case Study in Interoperable Payments in Myanmar’s Microfinance Industry Part 1, 2 & 3

Modusbox collaborated with UNCDF Myanmar on a six-month-long interoperability project in Myanmar’s microfinance industry to demonstrate the benefits of interoperable, real-time payments for microfinance customers in Myanmar. Part 1: The Challenges Part 2: Standardizing Digital Loan Repayments Part 3: 5 Takeaways for Banks and Regulators

Identity Proofing for COVID-19 Recovery

In order to address the systemic as well as the immediate challenges associated with COVID-19, Cenfri and FSD Africa have developed a guidance note, targeted at regulators, financial service providers and market facilitators, that provides clear steps and actions to take in transitioning toward remote identity proofing. The guidance highlights how traditional modalities for customer due diligence…

Connected Society Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit

The Connected Society programme works with the mobile industry, tech companies, the development community and governments to increase access to and adoption of the mobile internet, focusing on underserved population groups in developing markets. One of their key activities is to generate and disseminate insights and learnings on the mobile internet coverage and usage gap.

Beyond Credit: 3 Emerging Opportunities for Fintech Startups in the Gig Economy

According to BFA Global’s Catalyst Fund, experts from India and East Africa suggest that fintech startups and digital platforms should consider three additional opportunities: offering additional financial services; supporting skill-building and structured paths to career formalization; and expanding to serve adjacent populations.

GSMA Mobile Money API

The GSMA Mobile Money API is an initiative developed through collaboration between the mobile money industry and the GSMA, aimed at helping the mobile money industry speak the same technical language by providing a modern harmonised API for mobile money transactions and management that is both easy to use and secure.

De-risking in Africa: Illicit Financial Flows and Regional Economic Hubs

This two-note series from The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion, highlights the relationship between de-risking, IFFs and capital flows in the context of regional economic hubs. Detailing the concept of a regional economic hub, and exploring the methodologies for determining which countries are hubs within their respective regions.

(Un)stacking Financial Market Infrastructure

The biggest challenges in scaling effective financial infrastructures that work for poor people often are not about technology. Instead, they often revolve around questions of ownership, governance, economics, regulation, and political economy. These challenges are not small, but when addressed effectively, a system can emerge that improves the value of financial services for poor people.…

We Need to Support Growth of Digital Assistive Tech Innovation in Africa and Asia

The GSMA Assistive Tech team, together with Urban Emerge, conducted a landscape study to identify digital solutions emerging from Africa and Asia that are addressing the needs of people with disabilities.

Impact of Covid-19 on Fintechs

Like other businesses, FinTechs too have been struggling to cope with the Pandemic. The reports compiled by MicroSave Consulting, highlight the impact of the pandemic on FinTechs in Indonesia and India.  

QR Code Merchant Payments: A Growth Opportunity for Mobile Money Providers

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) compiled a report on QR code merchant payments and their relationship with mobile money providers (MMPs). Describing MMPs as key players in the provision of financial services in emerging markets, and why MMPs see QR code merchant payments as a potential adjacent opportunity to expand their products and…

Eswatini Central Bank Digital Currency Diagnostic Study

The Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion in partnership with The Central Bank of Eswatini conducted a diagnostic study which investigated the potential for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and the possible use cases for the implementation of a CBDC in Eswatini. This report provides a summary of the study findings.  

Technology Building Blocks for an Open API Strategy

For financial services providers looking to open APIs, the right combination of people, processes, and technology is essential. Too often, however, business leaders do not engage on key technology considerations, and business strategy is kept separate from technology strategy. This can lead to technically unreliable solutions that require intensive, ongoing technical support and create financial…

How to Engage Third Parties with Your Open APIs

This highlights deck from CGAP aims to drive awareness and use of APIs. It seeks to help DFS providers understand the differing needs of third parties across different segments, identify engagement activities that can address those needs, and start to think about an engagement strategy that is aligned with internal priorities and capacity. It will…

Good ID in Latin America

Digital identity is essential for the sustainable digital transformation of society, the public sector and the economy. One question arises: Under what circumstances can digital identification be a tool for inclusion or pose a risk to the rights of individuals? Amid this dilemma comes the global Good ID movement, which seeks to recognize and promote the…

Garment Worker Diary Reports

The Garment Worker Diaries collect regular, credible data on the work hours, income, expenses, and financial tool use of workers in the global apparel and textile supply chain in producing countries. The objective of the project is to have the data inform: government policy decisions, collective bargaining, and factory and brand initiatives related to improving…

Inclusive Tech: Overcoming Barriers to Scale in Emerging Markets

Technology undoubtedly has the potential to improve the access, quality and relevance of financial services for underserved customers around the world. Dynamic tech startups lie at the forefront of innovation in this space, harnessing technology, data and lean operating models to design more affordable, accessible and appropriate products that meet the unique needs of underserved…

The Scale and Usage of Digital Platform Ecosystems in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa

Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are leading digital app markets in Africa. The relatively high levels of app usage across these markets are driven by expanded smartphone penetration, as well as higher levels of access to digital financial services, including mobile money. This series of infographics showcases the data on the size and scale of…

Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?

Emerging technology is driving optimism about building a more inclusive digital economy. Will one innovation—a digital asset known as stablecoins—expand access to financial services among the poor and unbanked? Success may depend on innovators’ answers to five questions—and how regulators and consumers respond. This note by F. Christopher Calabia encourages further study of these questions…

Inclusive FinTechs in Francophone Africa: Benin report

Although in early stages, the upcoming National Financial Inclusion Strategy of Benin will help increase opportunities for FinTechs in Benin, especially if they spend time to understand the market and understand how they can add value to it by working with incumbents. The key success factors for FinTechs to stimulate financial inclusion in Benin are…

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on CICO agents in Kenya

Microsave’s latest research on the impact of the COVID 19 on CICO agents in Kenya provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges that CICO agents currently face and their coping strategies. The report provides recommendations for policymakers and financial service providers to support them. The report highlights that the CICO agents face severe health risks…

Governing Artificial Intelligence in Banking

AI is changing the face of the banking industry. How can banks meet the governance challenges and take advantage of this game-changing technology? To answer this crucial question, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and Temenos have produced this new report, Overseeing AI: Governing Artificial Intelligence in Banking Key findings in the report include: 77% of banking…

FinTech Start-ups in Côte d’Ivoire amid COVID-19: Expectations from the Government and the Regulator

This overview from Microsave gives a unique glimpse of the FinTech ecosystem of Côte d’Ivoire, how it has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and what measures and guidelines are being proposed and implemented by the government and regulators of the country. It can also be accessed in French here.

Central Banks and Payments in the Digital Era

This report from BIS, highlights the role central banks play in maintaining the safety and integrity of the payment system and reviews how central banks are embracing innovation.

The Global Fintech Index

The Global Fintech Index launched the world’s first real-time ranking of fintech ecosystems and fintech companies globally. It ranks over 60 countries and 230 cities according to the strength of their Fintech ecosystem.

Biometric Recognition and Authentication Systems

This guidance outlines the security profiles of biometric recognition technologies, and how to build secure authentication systems which incorporate them. This document is concerned with biometric systems for the verification of individuals, and will cover only those modalities which are commercially available, and appropriate to the field of cyber security. These are: fingerprint, face, iris, vein pattern, and speaker recognition.

The Causes and Consequences of Mobile Money Taxation

Mobile money taxation is a controversial subject. On the one hand mobile money has been something of a development success story in those countries where it has taken hold. On the other, developing countries face a range of issues when it comes to raising sufficient revenue to fund public services. This paper from the GSMA takes a fresh…

A Survey of Research on Retail Central Bank Digital Currency

This paper examines key considerations around central bank digital currency (CBDC) for use by the general public, based on a comprehensive review of recent research, central bank experiments, and ongoing discussions among stakeholders. It looks at the reasons why central banks are exploring retail CBDC issuance, policy and design considerations; legal, governance and regulatory perspectives;…

Innovation Ecosystems

Innovations of all kinds contribute to greater economic growth, and tech innovations, in particular, can increase digital inclusion for individuals. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For an innovation ecosystem to flourish, you need tech-savvy entrepreneurs, access to finance and a balanced network of connectors, plus an enabling environment. These ecosystems consist of, among…

How Mobile Money is Increasingly Interoperable

Achieving fully interoperable mobile money services that fulfil the needs of customers remains a goal for both the industry and the financial inclusion community. Emerging evidence from six markets sheds light on why this is the case. As more countries consider and implement a mobile money interoperability solution, this report from GSMA builds the evidence base…

The Global Impact of COVID-19 on Fintech Adoption

This paper draws on mobile application data from 74 countries to document the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the adoption of digital finance and fintech. It estimates that the spread of COVID-19 and related government lockdowns have led to between a 24-32% increase in the relative rate of daily downloads of finance mobile applications…

Mozambique Annual Fintech Report 2019

This Fintech Report is the first of its kind to be written in Mozambique in a collaboration between FSDMoç and the Mozambican Fintech Association. Fintechs are companies, in most cases startups, that develop innovative technologies in the financial sector, creating disruptive services for the final consumer. In an industry strongly linked to systems, processes, paradigms and…

Identity at the Margins: A Journey Continued

This narrative is a composite of experiences shared with the Caribou Digital research team, including direct quotes, presented in three short vignettes to highlight critical elements of how refugees engage with the identification systems of UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations.

Digitizing Payments in the Time of COVID19 and Beyond

UNCDF organized this webinar to discuss how fast-tracking digital payments at a time of crisis can be crucial in delivering aid and in post-crisis recovery. Three speakers from the UNCDF Inclusive Digital Economies team, Ali Akram, Sabine Mensah and Jaspreet Singh, were invited to share their experience and expertise. The objective of the webinar was to…

Mobile Money Recommendations to Central Banks in Response to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges for the global economy. It has affected global health systems, affected peoples’ livelihoods and will, invariably, leave long lasting economic effects. Many countries have adopted partial or total ‘lock downs’, restricting movement in a bid to “flatten the curve” and to limit the spread of the virus.…

CICO Agents: The Under-Valued “First Responders”

Microsave’s ongoing research uncovered a set of unique challenges that cash-in/cash-out (CICO) agents currently face in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report looks at the experience and behaviors of CICO agents across eight countries and explores ways to support them through favorable policies, even as the disease rages on around the world.

Achieving Business Impact with Data

There has never been a better time to achieve impact with data. More and more data is available, computing power is ever increasing, and mathematical techniques and the so-called data science are getting more and more advanced. What’s more, “digital” and “data” have become the talk of the town. Yet while talking about data as…

Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion in the Fintech Era

Technological innovation has made major inroads into financial services, especially payments. The pace of innovation has substantially increased in the past five years, leading to the “era of fintech”. Fintech presents both opportunities and challenges for financial access and inclusion. It can support improved access to safe transaction accounts and encourage their frequent use. However,…

Citizens and States: How Can Digital ID and Payments Improve State Capacity and Effectiveness?

In Bangladesh, a mother can now receive her child’s education scholarship through her mobile phone account instead of having to stand in long lines at the school on a prearranged day for a cash handout. Not only does this save her time and effort and provide accurate and documented payment, it also relieves school officials…

Blockchain Interoperability Considerations and Approach

The emergence of blockchain technology holds great promise for supply chain organizations. However, concerns around blockchain interoperability can serve as an obstacle to deployment. The World Economic Forum (Forum) and Deloitte examined the challenges and potential solutions for interoperability in the context of supply chain, global trade and the fourth industrial revolution. Read the report…

Mobile Money Regulatory Index

The Mobile Money Regulatory Index measures regulatory enablers of mobile money adoption. It has been constructed according to the steps set out in the guidelines developed by the OECD and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). This methodology document presents the theoretical framework that underpins the Index; the process for selecting the indicators, along…

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020

This third edition of The Mobile Gender Gap Report will consider how women’s mobile access and use are changing, and how efforts to reach women with technology should evolve alongside. This report provides: Updated figures on gender gaps in mobile ownership and mobile internet use in LMICs and how these are changing For the first…

The Contribution of FinTechs for MSME Development: What can Mozambique Learn from FinTechs in South Africa and Kenya?

This study, the Contribution of Fintechs for MSME Finance was produced by Helder Buvana as part of his journey to become a Certified Digital Finance Practitioner. It looks at how innovation, mainly technological innovation, is contributing to change the traditional way financial services are delivered to customers and how these new waves can reduce the…

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab for Mobile Money Interoperability

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab has released its Interoperability Test Platform, the first joint test environment including two key technologies, the GSMA Mobile Money API and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Mojaloop. With this test platform, the GSMA provides the industry with an open-source and secure environment, enabling ecosystem participants to test their systems…

State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2019

2019 marked a major milestone for the mobile money industry: the number of registered mobile money accounts surpassed one billion. Reaching the one billion mark is a tremendous achievement for an industry that is just over a decade old. The mobile money industry of today has a host of seasoned providers with a broad set…

Building a Resilient Industry: How Mobile Network Operators Prepare for and Respond to Natural Disasters

Mobile networks and connectivity have become increasingly necessary in times of crisis. They allow us to connect with loved ones, whether they are down the street or on the other side of the world. They fill not only a very human need to connect during times of hardship, but they also allow the coordination of…

Guidance on Digital ID

Digital ID systems are evolving rapidly.  To determine whether a digital ID is suitable, governments, financial institutions and other stakeholders should: Understand the assurance levels of the digital ID system’s technology, architecture and governance Given its assurance levels, determine whether it is appropriately reliable, independent in light of potential risks that it is used to…

API Deployments in Inclusive Finance

APIs are often viewed as potential solutions for traditional financial institutions, particularly small and midsize banks, to partner with upstart financial technology companies (fintechs) to offer innovate products, especially to low-income customers. In practice, however, due to the maturity of the fintech market, fear of losing competitive advantage, and a variety of strategic errors in planning…

Digital Banks: How can they deepen financial inclusion?

New technologies and business models are upending long-established markets across virtually every major sector, including the financial services sector. Traditional retail banks are joined by a growing number of digital partners and other competitors. One example are digital banks – firms that adopt new technologies to offer more effective banking services. This slide deck from…

Leveraging Mobile to Accelerate Digital Identity Ecosystems: Considerations for Policymakers in Africa

The white paper written by Yiannis Theodorou, Acting Head of Digital Identity at GSMA, discusses how mobile could be leveraged to accelerate digital identity ecosystems in Africa.

Fintech Benchmarks Proof-of-Concept Report

Investment capital is flowing into fintech startups, yet it is still challenging to get capital to many fintechs addressing last-mile challenges. Evidence suggests this is driven in large part by a lack of information. Using data collected to test an initial set of Data Standards for Inclusive Fintech, this report from MIX presents insights into…

Digital Finance APIs Come with Risks – Here’s One Way to Manage Them

Often an open API initiative starts when a digital financial services (DFS) provider sees the potential for scaling the exposure of services, such as payments, to partners and third parties. However, internal resistance can squelch the initiative, as management grapples with potential security, data privacy and brand reputation risks. While these concerns are valid, if…

Space for Finance in Developing Countries

This research was conducted by Caribou Space for the International Partnership Programme, a five-year, £30 million per year initiative run by the UK Space Agency. This report outlines why and how the space industry has a role to play in addressing challenges within the finance sector in developing countries. It is part of a series…

Passwordless Authentication: The Next Breakthrough in Secure Digital Transformation

Authentication is the cornerstone of secure digital transformation for platform businesses, and beyond that, a pillar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: from internet of things (IoT) devices that need authentication for machine-to-machine communication, to artificial intelligence (AI) that will be used both to secure and bypass authentication systems, and even blockchain, for which trustworthy authentication…

The Identities Research Project

The Identities research project explores user experiences of identity technology, brought to you by Caribou Digital, Omidyar Network and the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIITB). The need for user-centered research in “digital identity” arose out of concerns around top-down identity systems and lack of insights on how these are being understood and used,…

Digital Identity and Social Cash Transfers

The efficient implementation of social protection systems – and particularly social cash transfers – requires new digital tools that facilitate the efficient selection and enrollment of beneficiaries and the targeted and transparent delivery of funds. Effective methods of verifying beneficiary identities are essential to these processes; however, several issues are likely to hinder this. This…

Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development

In 2017, a group of development partners, international organizations, government agencies, and NGOs actively working to design and support identification (ID) systems came together organically to develop a set of shared principles essential for maximizing the benefits of identification for development while mitigating the risks. These Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development have now been endorsed by…

Making Data Work for the Poor

With the rise of digital technologies, the use of personal data by private companies is growing rapidly. But how do we know they will use this data responsibly and in consumers’ best interests? In emerging and developing markets, the question is particularly acute because the predominant model rests upon obtaining consumer consent to use their…

Impending Arrival – a Sequel to the Survey on Central Bank Digital Currency

Research and experimentation on central bank digital currencies continue to fuel discussion and debate. This BIS paper updates an earlier survey that asked central banks how their plans in this area are developing. The latest responses show emerging market economies reporting stronger motivations and a higher likelihood that they will issue digital currencies, with central…

Digital Identity Tracker

The Digital ID Tracker®, produced in collaboration with PYMNTS.com and Jumio, is a monthly resource for updates on trends and changes in the digital ID industry.    

The Rise of Challenger Banks – Are the Apps Taking Over?

The banking sector is experiencing a major shift globally, as Challenger Banks are becoming increasingly formidable competitors to traditional banks and have begun to capture significant market share. Furthermore, the lines between banks and other consumer financial services providers are blurring, with several alternative lenders and robo-advisors beginning to offer banking products to their customers.…

Decentralised Identity

This short article from GSMA explains the concept of decentralised identity.

Case Study of a Banking MVNO

Providing mobile banking services allows banks to significantly enhance the convenience, flexibility, accessibility, and affordability of their banking services. Money has been moving to the digital ecosystem for the last 25 years, with the arrival of internet banking, banking applications, and even digital money. Banks need to create a digital and mobile extension to their existing service…

An Analysis of ID Proxy Initiatives Across the Globe

Real-time instant payments have become a hallmark of the digital economy and financial system. As part of Cenfri’s growing work in payment ecosystems, this report clarifies and investigates proxy and addressing services as a critical lever for adoption of instant or near instant payments as part of the evolution of payment systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

Diagnostic study of the Zambian payments system

This diagnostic study by Cenfri explores Zambia’s payments landscape and provides insight and key learnings as Zambia’s 2018 – 2022 payment strategy to modernise the payment system and promote a cash-light society. This report outlines salient features of the Zambian economic context and political economy with a bearing on the National Payment System. It provides a…

Global Fintech Index 2020 Rankings Report

This is the first index designed to rank fintech activity globally, to understand the scale and scope of fintech activity in different regions of the world.

A FinTech Strategy for Ireland

This document aims to set the scene with a definition of FinTech and an overview of FinTech in Ireland and Globally – setting out key investment statistics which demonstrate the significant growth in FinTech which has taken place. It then examines the key success factors or attributes of a well-functioning FinTech eco-system and analyse Ireland…

The Trillion-Dollar Question

For years, digital financial services providers have tried and failed to seize a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity: the large-scale digitization of retail payments in emerging markets.What must providers do differently to make digital payments work better than cash for merchants and their customers? CGAP Senior Financial Sector Specialist Peter Zetterli’s search for an answer led him to a…

Improving Operational Efficiency of MFIs Through Tablet Banking

Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) provide a range of financial and non-financial services to low-income households around the globe as it is costly for financial institutions to provide the same services. MFIs have been offering these services to the unserved and underserved population but they are also struggling to balance outreach with costs. Use of technology,…

Deciphering the Trillion-valued Unicorn – Ant Financial

World Bank rated Ant Financial as the most valuable fintech company worldwide in  their 2019 World Development Report. Its valuation is approximately $160 billion. Ant Financial is growing rapidly and outperforming financial institutions, both the innovation capability of is financial business adn the technical output capability serving third-party financial and non-financial institutions are indispensable consideration…

State of Aadhaar 2019

Conceived as an ambitious project to provide universal identity to more than one billion Indians, Aadhaar is unparalleled in its reach and aspiration. An important objective of the project has been to improve the ability of the Indian state to provide efficient, transparent and targeted delivery of welfare services to a large number of residents…

Agent Networks at the Last Mile

Most digital financial services users around the world live in cash-based societies, and they require a cheap and easy way to switch between the worlds of cash and digital currency. Agent networks that provide this service tend to cluster around urban and peri-urban areas and larger rural towns. However, global evidence shows that emerging agent network…

Taxing Mobile Phone Transactions in Africa: Lessons from Kenya

Taxation on mobile phone-based transactions and on airtime has been introduced in Kenya and is spreading to other African countries. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa view mobile phones as a booming subsector easy to tax due to the increasing turnover of transactions and the formal nature of such transactions by both formal and informal enterprises.…

Fintech Development and Regulatory Frameworks in Indonesia

This paper from the ABDI Institute showcases the growth as well as the challenging factors for fintech development in Indonesia. As the eighth-biggest economy in terms of gross domestic product, and with an internet participation ratio of more than 50% and more than 50 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the country shows huge…

The Fintech Landscape in Rwanda

This report by UNCDF provides findings and proposed recommendations from an assessment of the fintech landscape in Rwanda. The report looks at four ecosystem attributes: 1) availability of talent, (2) demand for products and services, (3) availability of capital for start-ups and innovators, and (4) government policies and regulations regarding innovation.

Designing fintech solutions for inclusion

Part of the mandate of BFA’s Catalyst Fund is to share insights and lessons learned from their experience accelerating 25 inclusive fintech companies in emerging markets globally. This article discusses best practices in designing solutions for low-income populations, around the idea of Conscious coupling: how to ensure tech innovation does not undermine inclusion.

Harnessing the power of mobile money to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

This report from GSMA brings together existing evidence to explore the ways in which mobile money is contributing to the digitalisation of finance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The insights presented here illustrate the potential of mobile money to help achieve the 2030 targets by driving sustainable and inclusive growth, and providing solutions…

Garment Workers Experience with Wage Digitization in Bangladesh

Microfinance Opportunities, in collaboration with the Social Performance Task Force, conducted research to understand the experiences of garment workers in Bangladesh whose employers changed from paying them in cash to paying them digitally, either into a bank or a mobile money account. The purpose of this research is to identify ways in which an awareness…

Payments Innovation: Finding Payments’ 2020 Hidden Value Today

This podcast from PYMENTS explores the trends and developments expected for 2020 and what disruptions are anticipated in the digital finance space.

The Suptech Generations

Financial authorities’ use of technology has evolved over the years, leading to different generations of technology that culminate in what the paper by BIS, considers as suptech. Suptech refers to the application of big data or artificial intelligence (AI) to tools used by financial authorities. There are many ways of exploring suptech tools and these…

The Value of Pre-Authorization Screening in the Payments Ecosystem of Today

Ekata’s e-book, The Value of Pre-Authorization Screening in the Payments Ecosystem of Today, highlights essential ways pre-authorization screening solves payment challenges. Learn not only about the difficulties in the transactions space, but how to create a layered identity verification approach that will solve PSD2 and fraud headaches.

Digitizing Merchant Payments: Why and How

Digitizing merchant payments represents a major opportunity for financial services providers in developing economies because small retailers around the world accept trillions of dollars in cash payments every year. The value of the data generated by digitizing those transactions is considerable and could be an even more compelling incentive to pursue merchant payments than direct…

Investigating the Impact of Global Stablecoins

This report by BIS examines the challenges, risks and benefits that global stablecoins may pose.

Technology Convergence: IOT, Data and AI: What happens when these forces converge

This podcast explores developments in the industry relating to the Internet of Things, data, AI and Machine Learning. It discusses what is fiction and what is possible and what we should be looking for in the future.

World FinTech Report 2019

The World FinTech Report 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores how the future is moving to a shared marketplace where banks must think beyond open banking and transition to an impending phase called Open X. This is a shift from: Product to experience Ownership to shared access Assets to data Building/buying to partnerships

European Payments Predictions 2019

In this report by Clearhaus, nine industry experts share their experience and give insights into how payments in Europe will change and become more digitalised.

The Rise of Digital Money

This paper from IMF marks the launch of a new IMF series, Fintech Notes. Building on years of IMF staff work, it will explore pressing topics in the digital economy and be issued periodically. The series will carry work by IMF staff and will seek to provide insight into the intersection of technology and the…

FinTech in Financial Inclusion: Machine Learning Applications in Assessing Credit Risk

Recent advances in digital technology and big data have allowed FinTech (financial technology) lending to emerge as a potentially promising solution to reduce the cost of credit and increase financial inclusion. However, machine learning (ML) methods that lie at the heart of FinTech credit have remained largely a black box for the nontechnical audience. This…

FinTechs in Sub-Saharan Africa

FinTechs in Europe, North America and Asia have caught the attention of many financial institutions and investors in recent years: the trends and effects of FinTechs in these markets have consequently been thoroughly analyzed. This report from EY aims to shed light on a market that exhibits tremendous potential for FinTech investments, but which has…

World Payments Report 2019

The World Payments Report 2019 from Capgemini is the leading source for data, trends and insights on global and regional non-cash payments, the key regulatory and industry initiatives (KRIIs), and today’s dynamic payments environment. This 15th edition analyzes the digital transformation across the global payments market as new market participants like BigTechs, emerging technologies, and…

World InsurTech Report 2019

World InsurTech Report 2019 The World InsurTech Report (WITR) 2019 from Capgemini and Efma explores the Insurance marketplace of the future and offers insights into how established insurers and InsurTechs can remain competitive in a dynamic business environment.

e-Estonia – an advanced digital society

Named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’ by Wired, ingenious Estonians are pathfinders, who have built an efficient, secure and transparent ecosystem that saves time and money. e-Estonia invites you to follow the digital journey. The website provides information and solutions they have implemented and their impact.

Java, Python or Kotlin for Fintech?

There are many different development languages being used by Fintechs. This blog post explores the differences between Java and Python, and their application within digital finance. This second article advocates more for python for Fintechs. This third article explores the advantages of Kotlin for mobile applications and apps.

Exploring Africa’s digital platforms: Insurance in e-hailing

In recent years the platform economy has rapidly transformed various economic sectors such as hospitality, ecommerce and transportation. One of the most important subsectors of the platform economy is e-hailing. E-hailing platforms connect passengers and drivers of cars, taxis or any other form of transportation using virtual devices such as a computer or mobile device.…

Privacy by Design : Current Practices in Estonia, India, and Austria

Digital identification systems, integrated with civil registration, can play a transformational role across many development areas, such as financial inclusion, expanding access to services and social safety nets, and effective humanitarian response. But while the opportunity is great, so are the risks. One set of risks results from collecting, using, and managing personal data, which…

Advancing Financial Inclusion through Digital ID

In Peru, a public–private initiative uses the country’s national ID system to verify users of a cellphone money platform – allowing small traders to do business simply, securely and without cash. In this case study you will meet Maria – she’s a small business owner who was initially hesitant in signing up to Peru’s e-wallet app, BIM.…

How To: Create Digital ID for Inclusive Development

 This guide from USAID explores the intersections between development programmes and broader ID systems. Targeted at development practitioners – including donors, programme managers, and monitoring and evaluation specialists – this report from USAID explores the intersections between ID systems and development aims. In the first section of the report, the authors highlight the impact of…

Legal and regulatory frameworks of blockchains and smart contracts

This paper examines the intersection of blockchain and the law. Our analysis begins with an overview of legal issues as they pertain to blockchain technology per se, and in particular issues that arise due to the decentralised nature of many blockchain-based platforms. We follow this with a look at the legal implications of different kinds of smart contracts. These include smart…

Blockchain and Digital Identity

There are few things more central to a functioning society and economy than identity. Without a way to identify each other and our possessions we would hardly be able to build large nations or create global markets. Unfortunately, there are persistent – and increasingly serious – problems with the way digital identity works. For historical and other reasons, the digital…

Inclusive Fintech 50: White Paper on findings

Fintech investment is booming. In 2018, a record USD 111.8 billion was invested in fintech, and the sector garnered extensive media coverage and interest. But despite fintech’s growing profile—and even though it can help unlock trillions of dollars in value by reaching financially underserved households and businesses—fintech solutions have yet to reach the majority of…

Keeping Machine Learning Honest! The Need for the Truthalizer

Machine learning (ML) provides institutions with predictive analytics that leverage large amounts of both historical and continually-generated data to obtain actionable insights. These insights, in turn, allow institutions to design and deploy interventions to increase revenue, lower costs, and compete in a dynamic marketplace by providing more customer-centric products and services. However, few understand or…

FinTech for Financial Inclusion: A Framework for Digital Financial Transformation

The full potential of FinTech for financial inclusion may be realized with a strategic framework of underlying infrastructure and an enabling policy and regulatory environment to support digital financial transformation. Drawing from experiences in a range of developing, emerging and developed countries, this research from afi suggests that the best approach is staged and progressive,…

Digital Economy Report 2019

The rapid spread of digital technologies is transforming many economic and social activities. While creating many new opportunities, widening digital divides threaten to leave developing countries, and especially least developed countries, further behind. A smart embrace of new technologies, enhanced partnerships and greater intellectual leadership are needed to redefine digital development strategies and the future…

Did you see my tweet? Monitoring financial consumer protection via social media

Social media is changing customer service by shifting the ways in which consumers seek resolution of problems and the channels that firms make available to consumers. The ability for consumers to directly, instantly, and publicly praise or chastise the service of a firm has led to increased accountability and new ways to remotely resolve customer…

Accelerating Financial Inclusion with New Data

There are many internal and external challenges that providers must address for the promise of new data to be fully realized. From getting the right culture and technical talent in place to engaging with regulators and partners on data sharing and management, there are numerous obstacles to negotiate in capitalizing on the explosion of new…

Fintech founders up close

This series of videos from Accion gives an insight into the mind and experience of Fintech founders. They share their reasons and experiences with starting up their companies.

Cloud Computing for Financial Inclusion: Lessons from the Philippines

Earlier this year, Cantilan Bank became the first financial institution in the Philippines to fully leverage cloud computing technology. After an 18-month pilot the rural bank transferred its core banking services and data onto a community cloud service.  This milestone was the result of a cautious but forward-looking application of the Central Bank’s “test-and-learn” approach…

Lessons learned from the rise of “super apps” and the disruption of banking as we know it

Why would a user go to a bank when ecommerce marketplaces exist? Haven’t ecommerce players perfected the art of predicting and serving users’ purchase needs? Are banks too late to the Super app game, or possibly in the wrong game altogether? The Innovation & Design group at Visa, found these questions intriguing and they looked into some of…

Beyond KYC Utilities: Collaborative Customer Due Dilligence

The private and public sectors are increasingly leveraging new technologies to deliver collaborative approaches for financial service providers (FSPs) to meet customer due diligence (CDD) requirements. These include sharing data and elements of compliance functions on a level that was previously unthinkable. By pooling resources, these collaborative approaches have the potential to lower CDD costs…

Taxing mobile phone transactions in Africa Lessons from Kenya

The taxation on mobile phone-based transactions and on airtime has been introduced in Kenya and is spreading to other African countries. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa view mobile phones as a booming sub-sector easy to tax due to the increasing turnover of transactions and the formal nature of such transactions by both formal and informal enterprises. The increasing…

Blockchain: Cutting through the noise

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), often referred to as blockchain, has garnered a lot of attention in the past few years. Is it just “a solution in search of a problem” or, does it offer answers for real-world policy questions such as digital identity and remittances? This six-blog series, from The Better Than Cash Alliance, aims…

The role of privacy frameworks in building trust for digital identity services

With an estimated 1 billion people worldwide who lack an official proof of identity, mainly underserved populations located across Africa and Asia, the risk of exclusion from increasingly digital economies remains high as the ability to digitally prove one’s identity is typically core to most online transactions. In addition to being able to prove one’s…

Economic Identities for Small Business Owners: Insights from Nigeria

Recent end-user research conducted by the GSMA Digital Identity programme highlighted that informal business owners in Nigeria – many of which are women – often struggle to demonstrate their personal and business credentials to service providers and customers. As a result, they often lack access to market information and support, pay more for financial services…

Price Comparison Websites

The large and growing industry of price comparison websites (PCWs) or ‘web aggregators’ is poised to benefit consumers by increasing competitive pricing pressure on firms by acquainting shoppers with more prices. However, these sites also charge firms for sales, which feeds back to raise prices. This report investigates the impact of introducing PCWs to a…

Data Analytics and Digital Financial Service – Handbook

The Data Analytics and Digital Financial Services Handbook gives financial service providers an overview of the potential that data and data analytics present for financial inclusion in terms of improving efficiency of operations and effectiveness of product development and marketing, as well as increase outreach through innovative data-driven lending methods. The handbook is intended to…

A New Banking Model For Africa: Lessons on digitization from four years of operations

From 2014 to 2018, IFC and the Mastercard Foundation conducted a longitudinal study with nine partner financial institutions (FIs) in seven Sub-Saharan African countries to understand if Digital Financial Services are a viable strategy for these institutions to expand financial access. More precisely, the study explains the strategic objectives of the institutions and describes how they planned and implemented their DFS rollouts.…

Micro-entrepreneurs in the Platform Era

This research by FiDA involved talked to 27 micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya about how they use platforms (from social media sites to e-commerce marketplaces and online freelancing websites) in their day-to-day business. The platform practices these conversations revealed include: the prevalence of social media use, the intermingling of online and offline worlds, the adjustments made to tweak online credibility, and the unique approaches…

Digital Identity Series

DAI produced a Digital Identity Series, which gives and overview of Digital ID. Connect to each part of the series below: Digital Identity Series Part 3: Barriers to Inclusion for All Digital Identity Series Part 2: Digital Identity and Politics Digital Identity Series Part 1: Digital Identity and Informed Consent

FinTech: The Experience So Far

The Bali Fintech Agenda (BFA) was approved last year by the IMF and World Bank Group. It lays out key issues to consider in how technological innovation is changing the provision of financial services with implications for economic efficiency and growth, financial stability, inclusion, and integrity. In approving the BFA, IMF Executive Directors asked staff to review fintech developments and…

E-commerce as a Potential New Engine for Growth in Asia

The use of e-commerce around the world has accelerated in recent years, with Asia, led by China, spearheading the rise. Using cross-country enterprise survey data, this paper from the IMF shows that firms engaged in e-commerce have higher productivity and generate a larger share of their revenues from exports than other firms. This is particularly…

Artificial Intelligence in Financial Services

Very few technologies have captured the popular imagination like Artificial Intelligence (AI). It has become a key feature in science fiction movies and news stories about technology. But beyond the hype, organisations are looking at how it can transform their businesses, drive efficiencies and help them to serve customers better. This report from UK Finance explores…

API Pricing for Digital Financial Service Providers: Getting Started

Digital financial services (DFS) providers face several challenges when developing pricing strategies for open application programming interfaces (APIs). They must balance their own business objectives, including the need to achieve a return on investment, with the needs of API consumers to experiment and learn as they build and grow their businesses. This guide from CGAP aims to help…

Leveraging Technologies to Improve the Quality and Maximize the Productivity of Agent Models

Despite the growing volume of agents, the agent network model is rife with utilization and operational challenges. This brief from CFI examines the role of technological innovation as a potential driver for improving the quality and maximizing the productivity of agent models. Despite the growing volume of agents, the agent network model is rife with…

The Rise of Digital Money

This paper by the IMF offers a conceptual framework to categorize new digital monies, identify some of their risks, think through the implications, and offer some policy options for central banks to consider. The focus is mostly on the interplay between new forms of money and the banking sector; thus on financial stability and consumer protection. Other risks and implications—touching on financial…

EY Global Fintech Adoption Index 2019

FinTech has evolved in significant ways since the publication of the first global EY FinTech Adoption Index in 2015. That year EY observed that FinTech, while nascent, was “clearly more than just hype.” The next report, in 2017, found that the industry had grown rapidly and had “achieved initial mass adoption. This 2019 EY Global Fintech Adoption Index reviews interviews…

Omidyar Network Unpacks Good ID

To be truly empowering, Omidyar Network believes digital forms of identification must embed privacy, inclusion, user value and control, and security. Public and private ID issuers should also build trust through transparency and accountability. Good ID is our normative framing for any digital identity system that prioritizes individual empowerment while ensuring adequate safeguards. We envision the Good ID frame to be inclusive…

Libra – A New Digital Currency

Libra brings together a number of global organisations including Facebook, Visa, Mastercard, Uber, Women’s World Banking and Mercy Corps who together are launching a new global currency. The Libra mission is: “A simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.” Its aim is to “Reinvent money. Transform the global economy. So people everywhere…

Central Bank Digital Currency and Financial Inclusion

Central banks have started to actively explore central bank digital currency (CBDC) – a new digital form of legal tender that mimics cash. The first note on this by Cenfri showed there are both potential benefits and risks to this. Benefits could include: enhance the efficiency of national payment systems ease the convenience of payment processes…

Data in FSP Decision Making. Findings From Six African Countries.

Insight2Impact partnered with FSD Africa and Oxford Policy Management, and they conducted an online survey which identified ways Financial Service Providers (FSPs) collect, store and use data. 333 companies from six countries (Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) replied to the survey. The data was analysed into different types of FSPs (such as banks, MFI,…

Digital identity opportunities for women: Insights from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Rwanda

Drawing on in-country qualitative research, this study from the GSMA explores the specific incentives, challenges, preferences and benefits that women and girls will encounter, compared to men, when engaging with digital identity systems or services. It identifies how both men and women navigate day-to-day identity-related pain points, as well as the short- and long-term incentives…

Bangladesh: The Impact of Wage Digitalisation

This study measured the impact of wage digitization on the uptake of mobile money by neighborhood residents and merchants. The difference-in-differences method was used to measure change between the digitized and non-digitized neighborhoods between baseline and endline surveys. The study provides detailed information on the population of each factory neighborhood, including RMG workers whose wages…

Report of the High Level Committee on Deepening of Digital Payments

This report is based on the findings of the Reserve Bank of India committee, called to review the status of digitization of payments, identify gaps in the ecosystem, and suggest ways of plugging them. It was tasked to suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening digital payments and measures to strengthen safety and security.

150 Financial Definitions in 8 Languages

This website explains and translates 150 financial terms into the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hindi, Chinese, Swahili and Arabic.

Mobile Money Glossary

This glossary by GSMA provides definitions for common mobile money industry terminology in English, French and Spanish

Inclusive Digital Ecosystems of the Future

In this white paper, Inclusive Digital Ecosystems of the Future, by FIBR (partnership between BFA and Mastercard Foundation), the likely effects of the rise of digital superplatforms on the digital finance ecosystem is discussed. This paper describes and explores the phenomenon from different angles in order to explore potential implications for Africa in particular and generally…

Africa’s digital platforms and financial services: An eight-country overview

Explore i2i’s latest research on Digital Africa, the platform economy and associated financial services. This focus note gives the key findings of multi-sided digital platforms in eight sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

UNESCO’s Internet universality indicators: a framework for assessing Internet development

UNESCO has produced a Framework for Assessing Internet Development, based on the four ROAM categories: R – that the internet is based on Human Rights O – that it is Open A – that it should be Accessible to all, and M – that it is nurtured by Multistakeholder participation. Safety, gender, children, sustainable development…

The potential of merchant data in improving credit access

Access to credit is a challenge that many MSMEs face. Often this is due to lack of data and financial records on the business. This case study produced by a DataHack4FI country winner in Zambia, explores the use of using data such as sales, expenses and investments to generate a credit score which could be…

Key Drivers, Emerging Trends and Developments in Corporate Banking

Finextra, in association with Oracle, has put together a summary of the key market drivers, emerging trends and developments affecting corporate banking. Digital innovations, such as virtual accounts, AI, machine learning, open APIs and blockchain all feature in the report which you can download here.

The Growth of FinTech

This infographic outlines the growth if FinTech and gives an overview of the FinTech landscape, their areas and disruption, acquisition and adoption.

Un-Blocking identity in a Digital World

Distributed Ledger technology (DLT) is often held up as a solution for payments, money transfers and currencies. But a new paper by The Whitechapel Think Tank, supported by UK Finance, looks at how technology can provide a potential solution to safely validating identity and verification.

Ethical use of Customer Data in a Digital Economy

The ethical use of data, and the extensive use of AI in day-to-day customer interactions have been an area of increased focus for politicians and regulators globally, as well as for news and media channels, over the last couple of years. New centres of research, such as the UK Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation,…

Digital Identity: Restoring Trust in a Digital World

This paper from Mastercard presents a vision of how digital interactions will evolve. It describes the role that trust will play in those interactions and explains why Mastercard views digital identity as fundamental to that trust. It proposes an efficient and inclusive model of digital identity that is collaborative in nature, and establishes clearly defined…

The ICAEW Economic Update: Quarterly Economic Forecast

ICAEW produce quarterly economic forecasts and insights for global regions for those in the finance profession. Their current quarterly Economic Insights look at the Middle East, South East Asia, China, Africa and the UK. The current Economic Update for Africa focuses on FinTech, GDP and Mobile Money, and looks in particular at Nigeria and Kenya.

Exploring the Gender Gap in Identification: Policy Insights from 10 Countries

This 10-country study by the GSMA explores the intersection between cultural, social and policy barriers facing women and girls when accessing and using ID and provides gender-sensitive solutions for governments to ensure a more enabling ID-related policy environment.

Digital Identity Opportunities in Zambia, Uganda, Sri-Lanka and Malawi

Over one billion people around the world, including more than 230 million women and girls in the Commonwealth, lack official proof of identity. Recognising that mobile technology and mobile network operators (MNOs) are well-positioned to tackle this issue, the GSMA explored the identity landscape in Malawi, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Zambia – four countries at distinct stages on their…

Payments as a platform: The future of mobile money

The GSMA reviews the mobile money business model and the journey to a platform-based model. Five pillars to address are identified, including need for plug-and play access, new business models, optimizing user experience, collaboration with third parties, and personalized approach to product design. The approach could benefit start-ups and small businesses as well as diversifying…

Digital Identity Ecosystems

Identity is a data-rich key that acts to unlock all levels of the emerging digital ecosystem. All forms of ID carry some risk, but digital forms of ID, or “dematerialized ID,” cuts across all sectors and generates particularly copious data about people, their behaviors, financial status, associates, and potentially even political and religious views. Over…

E-Identity Solutions in Europe – An European overview

Digital identity solutions are essential for a European internal market. Europe can benefit from the existing experience and diversity of solutions in European countries. This study examines the European e-identity landscape as well as success factors for high dissemination and acceptance. In addition to the ease-of-use, which is essential for e-identity solutions as a digital…

FinTech in Sub-Saharan African Countries : A Game Changer?

FinTech is a major force shaping the structure of the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa. New technologies are being developed and implemented in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to change the competitive landscape in the financial industry. While it raises concerns on the emergence of vulnerabilities, FinTech challenges traditional structures and creates efficiency gains by…

Mobile Strong Customer Authentication under PSD2: Comparisons and Considerations

The new PSD2 regulations will bring about major changes to the digital security landscape. Among the most significant of these will be the requirement to use strong customer authentication (SCA) in remote payment transactions. Additionally, SCA on mobile devices will be required to make use of a secure execution environment (SEE). This paper from CAPS…

The Value of Digital ID for the Global Economy and Society

“Good” use of digital identification is a new frontier in value creation for individuals, companies, and countries. A panel of leading voices discuss how to unlock the benefits, while mitigating the risks. On 23 January 2019, global experts from business, government, and the social sector discussed how digital identification can provide both economic and societal…

G20 Digital Identity Onboarding

The G20 recognizes the key role of financial inclusion in supporting the move towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy.21 The World Bank Group was requested by its G20 partners under the 2018 Argentine presidency, to produce this report as part of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) forum- an inclusive platform…

Proceeding With Caution – A Survey on Central Bank Digital Currency

Payments are changing at an accelerating pace. Users expect faster, easier payments anywhere and at any time, mirroring the digitalisation and convenience of other aspects of life. And, although paper-based payments like cheques and cash still play important roles, new technologies and market entrants are challenging the traditional bank-based payment systems.  In addition to changes in…

Small Businesses and Digital Financial Services

Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises are the backbone of vibrant and dynamic economies. But they are sometimes hard for financial institutions to identify because of the methods they use to conduct their transactions. This report from IFC discusses predictive data models to help a mobile network operator, identify MSMEs in its market and better understand…

Introduction to Self-Sovereign Identity and Its 10 Guiding Principles

There is no consensus on an exact definition of self-sovereign identity yet. This paper uses the terminology of SSI, as the concept of individuals or organizations having sole ownership of their digital and analog identities, and control over how their personal data is shared and used. This adds a layer of security and flexibility allowing the…

Digital Identity Road Map Guide

The Digital Identity Roadmap Guide is a comprehensive guideline useful for identifying the main aspects that need to be addressed during the design, development, and implementation of a National Digital Identity Framework. It is the result of a deeply collaborative and thorough multi-stakeholder effort aimed at strengthening the knowledge and the expertise of the audience…

World Payments Report 2017 and 2018

Gapgemini and BNP Paribas produced the World Payments report for the years 2017 and 2018, which summaries data, trends and insights into world payments.

Industrializing Blockchain in ASEAN

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a population of over 600 million and continues to thrive as one of the fastest-growing regions globally. ASEAN countries are at different phases of their economic development, which creates opportunities for local governments and businesses to explore diverse use cases for blockchain. Industries that are exploring the…

Changing Change Management: Adapting Internal and External Culture in Times of Digital Transformation

Successful implementation of digital channels is not just about the technology – these new approaches also require a good change management plan. The softer or interpersonal aspects of digitising can be forgotten and they can strongly contribute to the success or failure. This guidance produced by IFC has been developed following the four-year observation of nine financial…

The Mobile Economy: Russia and CIS

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region has about 80% of the population being subscribed to mobile services. This puts it just behind Europe and North America and well ahead of the global average of 66%. Within the states there is a diversity of uptake, from 60% in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to 89% in Russia. This report by the…

Satellite Environmental Information and Development Aid: An Analysis of Longer-Term Prospects

This report is an analysis of the longer-term prospects for expanding the use of satellite-based environmental information in Development Aid operations and activities. The report has been commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) for European National Development Aid Agencies, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and National Space Agencies. The report has features work by the…

Private Sector Digital Identity in Emerging Markets

Identity has always been a complicated subject, as we are seen to have multiple facets to our identities. With the digital age, this complexity and importance has increased. This paper by Caribou Digital and Omidyar Network explores the role of digital identity, the technology and business models within emerging markets, and discusses three scenarios for private-sector entry.

Delving into human consciousness: using psychometric assessments in financial services

Everyone has a unique and distinctive personality. Fortunately for low-income populations that may have been excluded from formal financial services, their character traits can now help them access financial products. A psychometric credit assessment provides an alternative for thin-file loan applicants (i.e., zero or low credit history) by generating credit scores based on personality and behavior. These assessments predict loan repayment behavior…

Global ID Coverage, Barriers, and Use by the Numbers: Insights from the ID4D-Findex Survey

Trusted and inclusive identification (ID) systems can serve as a powerful tool for development, accelerating progress in number of areas, such as women’s empowerment and gender equality, financial inclusion, and health. Moreover, “legal identity for all, including birth registration” is one of the 169 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and ID and civil…

Payment Systems Worldwide- A Snapshot 2018

Payment systems and remittances represent the foundations of financial sector stability and financial inclusion. Payment systems support financial stability by reducing systemic and settlement risks, acting as firewall to prevent contagion of losses, facilitating proper liquidity management, and through the effective transmission of monetary policy. Also, payment systems are a critical enabler of financial inclusion.…

FinTech ecosystem playbook

The FinTech ecosystem playbook gives you a panoramic view of a FinTech ecosystem in emerging markets in ASEAN, Latin America, Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe & Central Asia (CESA), the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. The regulators and policymakers in these emerging markets are actively seeking to develop attractive FinTech ecosystems through a range of…

The future of FinTech and financial services: what’s the next big bet?

As a result of debates and discussion, the insights gathered were placed into the following common themes and topics of interest into this white paper by EY. The topics include: FinTech and startup investment trends – current and future Promising FinTech innovations and their impact on the investment and consumer landscape Foreseeable future with increasing…

The Tech Touch Balance

This report explores the combination between technology and the human side of customers and their preferences. Technology can be used to increase access to and efficiency of financial services but financial service providers and FinTechs must also consider the customer journey and experience when designing and implementing digital financial services, and find ways to engage,…

Fintech, Inclusive Growth and Cyber Risks: Focus on the MENAP and CCA Regions

Financial technology (fintech) is emerging as an innovative way to achieve financial inclusion and the broader objective of inclusive growth. Thus far, fintech in the MENAP and CCA remains below potential with limited impact on financial inclusion. This paper by IMF reviews the fintech landscape in the MENAP and CCA regions, identifies the constraints to…

What are the roles of intermediated and shared use?

Not everyone uses digital finance as it was originally intended; digital financial services (DFS) have been repurposed to fit individuals’ specific needs. Individuals also access digital finance platforms in so-called “non-conventional” ways. By “non-conventional”  we mean that an individual shares either a mobile phone and/or digital finance account to access DFS or use an intermediary who…

6 Things You May Not Know About Biometrics

Biometrics hold significant promise and are likely the future of identification and identity verification. However, as noted in a previous blog post, “The Biometric Balancing Act in Digital Finance,” biometrics are a complex and evolving family of technologies. It is important that we understand their strengths, limitations and appropriate applications if we are going to…

Building Inclusive Payment Ecosystems in Tanzania and Ghana

While this analysis could have highlighted the experiences of any number of countries that have succeeded in developing inclusive payment ecosystems, the Tanzanian and Ghanaian experiences hold unique and complementary lessons. Tanzania has experienced explosive growth in the use of mobile money since the service was first introduced in 2008. With several providers competing for market share, a range of new use…

Mapping the DFS Ecosystem with a Fintech Stack

The purpose of this paper, Mapping the DFS Ecosystem with a FinTech Stack, is to present a framework that permits a logical separation of the many elements involved in delivering rich digital financial services (DFS). This can be useful to identify patent capability gaps in the present financial inclusion solution landscape (whether of a regulatory, technological,…

What makes a successful commercial partnership?

Delivering digital finance typically requires a complex web of partnerships and coordination. A digital finance provider—whether a bank, a mobile network operator (MNO), or another third party—has to coordinate with a payment service provider that brands and sells the service to the public, a bank to hold the float account and safely store funds, a…

ISO 20022 Consultation Paper: A Global Standard to Modernise UK Payments

The major UK payments systems are moving to the new global messaging standard for payments known as ‘ISO 20022’. This consultation paper discusses views on the proposed strategy for aligning credit payment messages across CHAPS, Bacs, and Faster Payments with the new global standard.

Interoperability in East Africa: Dispatches from the Home of Mobile Money

The presenation shows that success of interoperability depends on finding the right balance between governance, business and technology arrangements for participants.

Digital Solutions for Analogue Agents

Mobile and financial technology might be advancing rapidly, but agent networks are still largely unchanged. Despite technological advancement, the way banks and telecoms manage mobile money agents has stagnated. This report from FIBR looks at the current telecom trends could soon change and what might the future of agent networks look like.  

Artificial Intelligence: Practical Superpowers – The Case for AI in Financial Services in Africa

Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers big potential for gathering and using customer data and provide new or more appropriate financial services. Advances in AI and also the spread of the mobile phone means that there is a case for financial services providers to use this technology. This report looks at the potential benefits to businesses in…

Biometrics and financial inclusion: A roadmap for implementing biometric identity systems in sub-Saharan Africa

The World Bank (2017) estimates that 1.1 billion people live without proof of identity. Nearly 50% of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa, where 454 million individuals are excluded from formal identify systems. In Nigeria,  78% of the population or 149 million individuals cannot prove their identity. Lack of identity documentation varies in its severity as a…

How to Succeed in Your Digital Journey: A Series of Toolkits for Financial Service Providers – Toolkit #6: Become a Digital Provider

This toolkit from UNCDFP describes different paths for a financial service provider (FSP) to become a provider of mobile banking services that clients can access from their mobile phones. In this model, the ultimate objective is to digitize all operations, from collection of client data and credit applications to disbursement and repayment of loans and collection…

MicroSave Agent Network Accelerator: India Second Wave

The research focuses on operational determinants of success in agent network management in India and builds upon the findings from the first wave, which MicroSave completed in 2015. The report describes the agency banking structure in the country and key performance metrics, such as agent viability, agent network structure, the quality of provider support, and…

Protecting Financial Consumer Data in Developing Countries: An Alternative to the Flawed Consent Model

This paper argues that the traditional “informed consent” model for consumer data protection has real weaknesses in effectively protecting the privacy of consumers in developing countries.

Identities Report

This study, draws on interviews with 150 diverse individuals and dozens of professional stakeholders throughout India, to explore the complexity of identity practices in everyday life. It is a critical moment for conversations like these, since new digital systems, such as India’s Aadhaar, expand formal identity credentials to previously underserved communities, and into everyday identity practices in new ways. The report suggests the need for…

The 2017 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report: Building a Secure and Inclusive Global Financial Ecosystem

The 2017 Brookings Report identified four priority areas that warrant additional action on the part of the international financial inclusion community: 1) establishing specific, measurable financial inclusion targets; 2) collecting and analyzing data relevant to financial access and usage, particularly among underserved groups; 3) advancing regulatory changes designed to facilitate financial inclusion; and 4) enhancing…

The Future of Digital Payments in Europe 2017

This White Paper provides an essential appraisal of the key trends in this rapidly developing marketplace, highlighting the primary factors shaping growth and assessing the opportunities presented by emerging payment mechanisms. It also presents a series of recommendations for current and prospective players across the payments value chain.  

ITU-T Focus Group Digital Financial Services Ecosystem

This Report by ITU, defines the Digital Financial Services ecosystem and describes the players and their roles within the Ecosystem. These players include users (consumers, businesses, government agencies and non-profit groups) who have needs for digital and interoperable financial products and services; providers (banks, other licensed financial institutions, and non-banks) who supply those products and…

Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services

For years Fintech has been the hottest topic of discussion in financial services, with incumbents, regulators, and consumers all asking the same question: “Will small technology-enabled ‘fintech’ start-ups redefine the way that banks and insurers operate, and upend the competitive landscape of the industry?” Building on the findings of the 2015 World Economic Forum report “The…

Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study

This is the first study to systematically investigate key cryptocurrency industry sectors by collecting empirical, non-public data. The study gathered survey data from nearly 150 cryptocurrency companies and individuals, and it covers 38 countries from five world regions. The study details the key industry sectors that have emerged and the different entities that inhabit them. Download…

Flavours of fast: A trip around the world in immediate payments

Now in its sixth edition, FIS’ annual Flavors of Fast report traces the extraordinary growth of real-time payments around the world and the new consumer and corporate services that are being developed on them.

Digital Identity Guidelines

These guidelines provide technical requirements for federal agencies implementing digital identity services and are not intended to constrain the development or use of standards outside of this purpose. The guidelines cover identity proofing and authentication of users (such as employees, contractors, or private individuals) interacting with government IT systems over open networks. They define technical…

Bitcoin in China (Podcast)

Neil Woodfine is the Growth Manager for Wyre in Asia and the Organiser of Beijing’s Bitcoin Meetup. In part one of the conversation on Bitcoin in China, Neil talks to about: How Wyre uses Bitcoin to make RMB payments into China. The key users of Bitcoin in China: exchanges, miners and investors. The attractiveness of Bitcoin…

Open banking How to flourish in an uncertain future

Research shows that the threat to the traditional banking business model is real. But while the threats to incumbent banks are greater than ever, so are the opportunities. In an extreme scenario, some banks could be relegated to the background as infrastructure providers while other entities – FinTechs, tech giants and price-comparison websites (PCWs), for…

The U.S. Path to Faster Payments. Final Report Part Two: A Call To Action

The Faster Payments Task Force (task force) is a broad and inclusive group of stakeholders with representatives from organizations across the payments community, including financial institutions, nonbank payment providers, businesses (merchants and corporates), consumer groups, federal and state government agencies, regulators, standards bodies, industry trade organizations, consultants, and academics. Acting as a catalyst, the Federal…

The US Path to Faster Payments. Final Report Part One: The Faster Payments Task Force Approach

The Faster Payments Task Force is a broad and inclusive group of payment industry stakeholders with representatives from organizations across the payment ecosystem, including financial institutions, non-bank payment providers, regulators, standards bodies, consultants, businesses (merchants and corporates), and consumer groups. The Federal Reserve assembled the task force to collaboratively identify and evaluate alternative approaches to…

War of the Wallets

The emergence of several high profile mobile payment services, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, has provided the sector with fresh impetus. Although the failure of several MNO (Mobile Network Operator)-led ventures meant that, in the offline space at least, mobile payments plateaued for several years across Europe and North America, the space…

How Financial Institutions and Fintechs Are Partnering for Inclusion: Lessons from the Frontlines

This report examines how partnerships between mainstream financial institutions (e.g., banks, insurers, and payment companies) and fintechs are addressing financial inclusion challenges and expanding access to the formal financial economy for underserved segments of the global population, particularly in emerging markets. It incorporates insights from 24 in-depth interviews with people at the frontlines of this…

How Fintech is Reaching the Poor in Africa and Asia: A Start-Up Perspective

This note produced by IFC explores the way traditional banks and financial technology companies, or FinTechs, interact in Africa and Asia, and their ability to offer innovative digital financial services that grant unbanked individuals access to financial transactions. The FinTech sector is experiencing explosive growth in both continents, but while Asian banks have managed to…

Digital Identity: The Essential Guide

This guide produced by ID4Africa gives an overview of the importance of digital identity as well as recommendations for developing and implementing a digital ID scheme, and to ensure its success. The guide also illustrates the impact or potential impact of digital ID and its role in financial inclusion and growth of the economy. You…

Mobile Money Payment Toolkit for Utility Service Providers

Today, utility service providers are delivering essential services to communities. Increasingly, the use of mobile money payment solutions is becoming widespread in utility services. In September 2016, for example, over 1.6 million mobile money transactions were generated by pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar energy services. However, one of the main challenges for PAYG utility service providers is…

Blockchain For Dummies by IBM

Blockchain For Dummies, IBM Limited Edition, equips you with an understanding of what blockchain is, how it works, and how it can enhance your business and the industry in which it operates. Welcome to Blockchain For Dummies, IBM Limited Edition, your guide to all things blockchain for business. It has been said that blockchain will…

Digital Banking Manifesto: The End of Banks?

This report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigates the current state of our banking system and how the rise of the Digital Bank and digital currencies will affect the future of finance. MIT’s Alex Lipton, David Shrier and Alex “Sandy” Pentland take you through the intricacies of the Digital Bank.

The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa

The mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to scale rapidly, reaching 367 million subscribers in mid-2015. Migration to higher speed networks and smartphones continues apace, with mobile broadband connections set to increase from just over 20% of the connection base today to almost 60% by the end of the decade. Falling device prices are encouraging…

Technology Inequality: Opportunities and Challenges for Mobile Financial Services

This report urges regulators and technology providers to continue supporting mobile financial services on feature phones, even as they work to create paths for new-generation services. In fact, feature phone handsets are getting better, cheaper and smarter, and sales are rising. If mobile financial services are to be a force for financial inclusion, we must…

Unlocking the Promise of Big Data to Promote Financial Inclusion

Believing in data’s potential to provide both social and economic benefits, Accion set out to conduct research with the goal to develop a practitioner’s guide, building on the existing literature, to provide financial service providers (FSPs) with actionable insights and first steps on how to better leverage data for financial inclusion.Introducing data-driven innovations is a…

Digital Finance Interoperability & Financial Inclusion A 20-Country Scan

A 20-country scan that assesses the state of interoperability in select markets. The study is focused on payments from and to small-value transactional accounts that are accessible to mass-market consumers. For comparability, the scan defined interoperability as the ability for a digital financial service account to make specific kinds of transactions across two or more…

Facilitating Interoperability in Digital Finance Services in India

This paper reviews the existing literature on interoperability, international experiences, regulations applicable in India, presenting a way forward for different stakeholders including industry, civic society, experts and regulators to work together for facilitating interoperability while balancing competing interests in the market.

Digital Identity Interoperability and eInnovation

This case study addresses the issue of Digital ID interoperability, specifically in the internet context. It covers experiences in creating Digital ID interoperability to date, some of the forces that drive or inhibit the emergence of interoperability in Digital ID, the benefits and drawbacks of Digital ID interoperability as they relate to innovation, and  some…

The Application of Digital Identity in the United States

Identity theft affected nearly 18 million people in the United States in 2014 and resulted in billions of dollars of financial losses and other hardships for individuals, the government and businesses. With the increased prevalence of online financial transactions and other business interactions, there has not been a corresponding widespread adoption of a universally trusted…

Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016

Mobile phones have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting, and shopping. Given the rapid pace of change in the area of mobile finance, the Federal Reserve Board began conducting annual surveys of consumers’ use of mobile financial services in 2011. This report presents findings from the latest survey, fielded in November…

Getting Ahead of the Curve: Assessing Card-Not-Present Fraud in the Mobile Payments Environment

The U.S. retail payments industry is undergoing significant change to secure card payments by migrating to EMV chip cards for card-present or point-of-sale (POS) transactions. Effective October 1, 2015, card network operating rules changed to shift fraud liability to the merchant if it was not enabled to accept EMV chip credit or debit cards. As…

Banking Bitcoin-Related Businesses: A Primer for Managing BSA/AML Risks

To date, much of the attention directed toward Bitcoin has focused on its use as a preferred payment method by criminal enterprises because it allows users to transact pseudonymously. But Bitcoin offers more than just pseudonymity. It is a fast, low-cost, and secure payment solution that can also be used for many legitimate purposes. As…

Understanding Modern Banking Ledgers through Blockchain Technologies: Future of Transaction Processing and Smart Contracts on the Internet of Money

This chapter provides an overview of the concept of blockchain technology and its potential to disrupt the world of banking through facilitating global money remittance, smart contracts, automated banking ledgers and digital assets. Firstly it provides a brief overview of the core aspects of this technology, as well as the second-generation contract-based developments. Secondly key…

Fast payments – Enhancing the Speed and Availability of Retail Payments

The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures has issued a report on Fast payments. So-called fast payment services make funds immediately available to the payee and can be used around-the-clock, on a 24/7 basis. As such, they overcome the limitations of traditional retail payment services, namely that usually the funds reach the beneficiary one or…

Blurred lines: How FinTech is shaping Financial Services

It is difficult to imagine a world without the internet or mobile devices. They have become core elements of our lifestyle and have brought a high degree of disruption to virtually every area of business. The financial services (FS) industry is no exception; the digital revolution is transforming the way customers access financial products and…

Distributed Ledgers, Smart Contracts, Business Standards and ISO 20022

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Smart Contracts (SC) promise to transform automation in the financial industry, and are generating huge interest among financial institutions and technology providers. Rapid progress is being made towards more robust implementations of the technology that might meet the needs of the financial industry for security, resilience and scalability. However, regardless…

Distributed ledger technology in payments, clearing, and settlement

Digital innovations in finance, loosely known as fintech, have garnered a great deal of attention across the financial industry. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is one such innovation that has been cited as a means of transforming payment, clearing, and settlement (PCS) processes, including how funds are transferred and how securities, commodities, and derivatives are cleared…

2016 World Payments Report

The 2016 World Payments Report examines developments in the global payments landscape. By partnering with BNP Paribas, in this year’s report, in addition to bringing insightful analysis of the global non-cash transaction environment to banks, we have provided our insights on transaction banking as well. Using the sliding bar, review global and regional non-cash payment…

Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations

New technologies are driving transformational changes in the global financial system. Virtual currencies (VCs) and the underlying distributed ledger systems are among these. VCs offer many potential benefits, but also considerable risks. VCs could raise efficiency and in the long run strengthen financial inclusion. At the same time, VCs could be potential vehicles for money…

The changing world of money

This report from KPMG explores the changing world of money and how we can prepare for a digital future.

Unchained: Big Ideas From The Worlds Of Blockchain And Cryptocurrency (podcast)

Blockchain technology is about to transform every trust-based interaction of our lives, from financial services to identity, from health care to our Internet of Things devices. In this podcast, host Laura Shin talks with industry pioneers across tech, financial services, health care, government and other sectors about how the blockchain and cryptocurrency will open up…

Portable Identity

This paper on Portable Identity explores the concept, pros and cons. Portable Identity is the right and responsibility of each of us to create, control, and carry the important pieces of information that define who we are in a private, secure, and trusted manner. Other individuals, entities or authorities may validate (or “attest to”) various…

Internet identity, privacy, and a blockchain – SecureKey

The term identity gets used a lot whenever internet payments and security are discussed. Knowing who we transact with is still the knotty problem. Strong authentication is required. Identity verification is required, too. A means of sharing the fruits of that work among the parties involved, especially those taking on risk, could save everyone a…

Bitcoin Divided

Bitcoin was supposed to be the currency of the future: secure, fast, independent of any government. But if there’s one feature a currency needs, it’s to let you pay for things. And, recently, that’s been a problem for Bitcoin. The idea was always that when technical problems arose, the bitcoin community would come together to solve…

Reinventing Remittances with Bitcoin

This book is for Bitcoin enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and industry veterans who wish to fully understand the Bitcoin-powered remittance process that startups around the world have been working on since 2013. It’s our hope that sharing these stories and data in a structured and well-packaged format will contribute to the rapid growth of the global crypto-money…

Contactless EMV Payments: Benefits for Consumers, Merchants and Issuers

This white paper, from the Smart Card Alliance Payments Council, addresses current questions about the adoption of contactless payments, including: how contactless fits into today’s payment industry; what is currently different from earlier adoption attempts; and why now is the ideal time to go contactless. The white paper focuses on mass adoption of contactless EMV…

Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report 2016

The Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project (FDIP), launched in summer 2014, examines access to and usage of secure, affordable formal financial services among underserved populations. The objective of FDIP is to provide policymakers, the private sector, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and the general public with information that can help improve financial inclusion in their…

Digital banking: from revolution to evolution

Against a backdrop of heightened regulation, the burden of legacy IT and a plethora of potential technologies and strategies to pursue, financial institutions must continue to drive forward in the digital age to retain market share, restore customer trust and avoid commodification. This report from TLT outlines the changes coming for a digital age and…

State of Cash, Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, 2015

As the payments landscape evolves, cash remains a unique, resilient, and heavily used consumer payment instrument. Still, with new payment options and ways to shop, consumers are adapting how they view and use cash. The Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (Diary) serves as the Cash Product Office’s (CPO) primary data source on consumer payment behavior.…

The Effect of Demographics on Payment Behavior: Panel Data with Sample Selection

Today’s consumer has access to more payment instruments than consumers of just a few years ago, as newer electronic payments are penetrating an established payments market, while older methods, such as cash and checks, remain important payment alternatives. As the number of available payment methods increases, so does the need to understand why consumers adopt…

Making Blockchain Real for Customer Loyalty Rewards Programs

Customer loyalty and engagement can make or break companies, and as such, rewards programs represent strategic investments for all types of organizations. But as they have been growing rapidly, they are also still ailing due to inefficiencies. There are several reasons for this, but first and foremost is we believe the paucity of uniform management…

Distributed Ledger Technology And Opportunities In Correspondent Banking

Correspondent banking has evolved over the past 35 years, from automating telex processes amongst multiple correspondent banks, to a model where fewer, deeper correspondent relationships deliver increased efficiency, speed, standardisation, and compliance of international payments. Despite these improvements, correspondent banking still relies on the need to maintain and reconcile two separately held versions of the…

Blockchain Technology: How Banks Are Building A Real-Time Global Payment Network

One of the most talked-about topics in the financial services industry today is blockchain. And for good reason: The ways in which emerging blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) could transform the industry are enticing to companies constantly on the lookout for lower costs and greater efficiency. If fully adopted, it will enable banks to…

The World FinTech Report 2017

Backed by a survey of more than 8,000 customers in 15 countries, as well as over 100 interviews with senior-level executives, and a world-class Executive Steering Committee, this report goes beyond the hype of FinTech.  It looks toward the future of Finance and Technology by diving deeper into how leading firms are successfully applying innovation, while…

Riding the Rails of Mobile Payments: Financial Inclusion, Mobile Phones, and Infrastructure

This chapter on riding the rails of mobile payments analyzes payments as both technical and social infrastructures for “financial inclusion,” that is, political, business, and philanthropic projects designed to extend the benefits and functions of formal financial services to under- and unbanked populations around the world. Specifically, it is concerned with mobile payments—the use of…

Digital Payments 2020: The Making of a $500 Billion Ecosystem in India

The global payments landscape is evolving at a dizzying pace. The last twelve to eighteen months have witnessed heightened activity with four major shifts being observed in the global landscape. Firstly, the ongoing digital and technology revolution, led by the ever-increasing penetration of smartphones and internet on mobile, has revolutionised digital payments. Second, the payments…

Cashless society in China

This podcast on how digital payments adoption is rapidly increasing in China and how platforms like WeChat Pay and Alipay are redefining how transactions are conducted.

A Western Diet with Chinese Spices – The Specificities of Payments in China

Overall, in China the payment system is less developed and electronic payment methods are less widely used than in European countries, while in this regard China is also relatively underdeveloped among the BRICS countries. That said, data indicate that in accordance with China’s economic growth since the turn of the millennium, major changes have also…

The Rise of FinTech in China Redefining Financial Services

A collaborative report from EY and DBS Bank shares lessons to be learned from the rise of FinTech in China. With high levels of internet and mobile penetration, China is already the world’s largest and most developed retail e-commerce market, accounting for 47% of global digital retail sales – the result of a massive domestic…

Prepaid Card Products for Humanitarian Programs: Actors, Insights & Recommendations

Today, over 130 million people need humanitarian support to survive. Fortunately, new tools such as prepaid cards allow us to respond to these needs with increasing flexibility and efficiency. Today’s leading humanitarian agencies are increasing their use of prepaid cards in places like Jordan, the Philippines, Greece and Turkey, where payments infrastructure is relatively well-developed.…

The Commonwealth Working Group on Virtual Currencies Report

The Commonwealth Working group produced a report of the prevalent virtual currencies in eight member countries, as well as research into the regulatory responses in some economies within the Commonwealth, to provide a cross-section of Commonwealth experience of virtual currencies. The results of the surveys and the research, which are included in this report, have…

India’s Botched War on Cash

India is in the throes of an unprecedented social experiment in enforced digital disruption, and the world has much to learn from it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a surprise in early November, demonetizing 500 and 1,000 rupee bank notes. Read about the impact, success and challenges here.

The U.S. Path To Faster Payments

This report is broken into two parts. Part one describes the background and process of the task force’s work and its motivation for pursuing faster payments solutions in the context of the current payments landscape. Part two shares the assessment of proposals for faster payments solutions, and recommend next steps for the industry to take…

Kaushik Basu podcast on India’s demonetization

Doing away with big currency notes is a movement that is picking up all over the world, says Kaushik Basu, a professor of economics at Cornell University. While it may be a good idea in theory for tackling tax evasion and the black market in Australia, he says policymakers have to be cautious in implementing…

Decade Edition of the State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money

With the State of the Industry Report on Mobile Financial Services now in its sixth year, this special 2016 edition industry report by GSMA is an opportunity to reflect on the incredible progress made over the last decade. While mobile money has been around for more than 10 years, few would dispute that the 2007…

The Bitcoin Ecosystem (Infographic)

BitPay partnered with Bitcoin Magazine to create an infographic showing how the bitcoin ecosystem has matured in the almost eight years since Bitcoin was released. This “Bitcoin City” represents all of the industries and technologies that have come so far since bitcoin’s first block.

The future of financial infrastructure: An ambitious look at how blockchain can reshape financial services

The transformation of the financial services industry is top-of-mind for everyone in the field and blockchain might be the hottest topic in the rapidly changing world of Fintech. But how can this technology really help financial firms? This report from World Economic Forum takes a pragmatic approach to answering this question.  The report builds upon…

Fast Payments – Enhancing the Speed and Availability of Retail Payments

The BIS Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures has issued a report on Fast payments. So-called fast payment services make funds immediately available to the payee and can be used around-the-clock, on a 24/7 basis. As such, they overcome the limitations of traditional retail payment services, namely that usually the funds reach the beneficiary one…

Payment System Interoperability and Oversight: The International Dimension

This report by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), considers the implications of PSI interlinking and international interoperability for central bank oversight policy, and elaborates on a set of principles that complement those developed in the companion report. The principles cover some critical institutional aspects which underpin the establishment of international interoperability agreements, as well as the…

The Impact of Mobile Money Interoperability in Tanzania

The publication highlights the impact of mobile money interoperability in Tanzania, focusing on early data and market perspectives on account-to-account interoperability. This paper leverages both qualitative and quantitative analysis by including industry perspectives from the providers. This approach allows for the contextualization of growth patterns against the broader strategic impact of account-to-account interoperability among mobile…

On the Value of Virtual Currencies

This paper develops an economic framework to analyze the exchange rate of virtual currency. Three components are important. First, the current use of virtual currency to make payments. Second, the decision of forward-looking investors to buy virtual currency (thereby effectively regulating its supply). Third, the elements that jointly drive future consumer adoption and merchant acceptance…

Digital Finance for All: Powering Inclusive Growth in Emerging Economies

A report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Digital finance for all: Powering inclusive growth in emerging economies, is the first attempt to quantify the full impact of digital finance. In addition to extensive economic modeling, the report draws on the findings of field visits to seven countries—Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan—and more than 150…

Tech Trends, Innovating in the digital era

Can blockchain become as sexy as virtual reality or the Internet of Things? And of trillions of signals potentially being processed, how do we isolate the few that are meaningful? Bill Briggs discusses 2016’s tech trends with Tanya Ott.

Blockchain: Democratized trust

Trust is foundational to business, yet maintaining trust—particularly throughout a global economy—is expensive, time-consuming, and, in many cases, inefficient. Could blockchain applications become part of the answer? This report from Deloitte delves into more detail.

Digital Disruption – How Fintech is forcing banking to a tipping point

Investments in financial technology have growth exponentially in the past decade — rising from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $19 billion in 2015 — with over 70% of this investment focusing on the “last mile” of user experience in the consumer space. The majority of this investment has also been concentrated in the payments area…

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 proposed in this post from the Helix Institute illustrates the most common options available for…

The U.S. Adoption of Computer-Chip Payment Cards: Implications for Payment Fraud

The fraudsters, phishers, hackers, and pickpockets who thrive off payment card fraud may soon have their work cut out for them. U.S. financial institutions have announced plans to add computer chips to their debit and credit cards in the next few years, a move likely to make payment card fraud more difficult. Compared with the…

Mapping the Retail Payment Services Landscape: Zambia

This report on Zambia’s retail payments landscape is part of a series commissioned by FinMark Trust to examine the retail payments landscape in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zambia has made remarkable progress towards modernization of its national payment system, but there is a long way to go until most of the population can benefit…

Innovations in retail payments

Over the past decade, many innovations in retail payments have emerged. These may affect the retail payment market – for example, by influencing users in their choice of payment instruments and by significantly reshaping the payment processes. Innovations can potentially cut processing costs and increase social welfare. For central banks, however, they also raise policy…

Managing a Mobile Money Agent Network

This article from the GSMA explores how mobile operators can ensure that the agent networks they have built and incentivised are managed effectively. A well managed agent network can help operators build brand awareness, educate customers, and meet system-wide liquidity demands, all of which builds confidence among users in a service that is initially unintuitive.…

Three Key Considerations for Agent Banking

This presentation from the Helix Institute looks at the following three considerations for agent banking: The Value Proposition to Anchor Your Service The People & Management Structures The Character of Your Agents

Mobile Money Business Models

This presentation from the Payments Innovation Working group explores the three core business models for mobile money.

Enabling a New Generation of Digital Services: A Case Study of China Telecom’s Wallet

As the Chinese population becomes increasingly connected, the power of mobile is being used to create a new generation of rich and convenient digital services. China Telecom provides an answer to the growing demand for fast, secure mobile payments in the form of their wallet, an NFC solution enabling users to download and manage a…

Expanding the Ecosystem of Mobile Money: Considerations for Interoperability

This note from the GSMA discusses interoperability in broad terms as the interconnection of mobile money services with external parties, with the aim to create value for both customers and commercial players. Interoperability is increasingly cited as a solution to increase transaction volumes and extend the range of financial products offered through the mobile phone.…

Understanding the potential of the mobile money ecosystem

For GSMA, the mobile money ecosystem includes mobile money providers and all third party organisations that can benefit from mobile money, either by using it as a payment mechanism or by leveraging mobile money accounts. The mobile money ecosystem facilitates transactions from different sectors, such as retail, utilities, health, education, agriculture, and transportation in addition…

Payment, clearing and settlement systems in South Africa

South Africa, like many African countries, has varying requirements for payment systems and payment instruments. In urban areas, sophisticated first-world electronic facilities and instruments are demanded, while in remote rural areas, the predominant requirement is cash-based. This is reflected in the physical payment system infrastructure implemented throughout the country. Over the past few decades, the…

Digital Payments 2020: India

This paper by Boston Consulting Group and Google, explores the global digital payments revolution and how this in particular impacted on India. What made India open to digital payments, how were the barriers overcome, and what regulations are required are among other topics discussed.

Innovation in Financial Services: The Elastic Innovation Index Report

By assessing innovation inputs (or capabilities), as opposed to innovation outputs (new products or new services), the Elastic Innovation Index  measures capability and readiness to change rather than measuring what has been achieved in the business execution process. The Index goes beyond the typical focus on the start-up ecosystem as a potential engine of disruptive…

Fighting Poverty, Profitably

This report from the Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program, focuses on the economics of payment systems to understand how they can be transformed to serve poor people in a way that is profitable and sustainable in aggregate.

Reducing risk and increasing resilience in RTGS payment systems

This White Paper from SWIFT explores why the RTGS matters, the need for the RTGS, and best planning for RTGS resilience.

The Challenges of Real-Time, Any-to-Any Payments

Imagine a world in which consumers have control over their money and are connected directly to their payments mechanism of choice no matter where they are. In this world, shoppers pay anyone directly from their current/ checking accounts, banks reclaim a direct relationship with consumers and retailers drive store spending. Payment stakeholders collectively benefit by…

The Global Adoption of Real-Time Retail Payments Systems (RT-RPS)

The purpose of this paper is to review the global real-time retail payments systems (RT-RPS) landscape, to analyse market drivers and trends, different approaches to deployment architectures, barriers to entry and the key success factors to ensure rapid adoption.  

The digital battle that banks must win

One in three people in developed markets now carries a smartphone, and few doubt that banks will rely increasingly on digital channels to serve the fast-growing population of consumers who rely on multiple devices to conduct daily business online. In the United States, where smartphones account for more than half of mobile subscriptions, one-third of…

Digital currencies

Central banks typically take an interest in retail payments as part of their role in maintaining the stability and efficiency of the financial system and preserving confidence in their currencies. Innovations in retail payments can have important implications for safety and efficiency; accordingly, many central banks monitor these developments. The emergence of what are frequently…

What is Money?

Money may make the world go around, as the song says. And most people in the world probably have handled money, many of them on a daily basis. But despite its familiarity, probably few people could tell you exactly what money is, or how it works. This post by IMF outlines that money can be…

Getting to grips with counterparty risk

Counterparty risk stalks the financial system. In this article from McKinsey, the authors outline a four-step approach to help banks and other financial institutions manage and mitigate this pervasive risk.

Mobile money profitability: A digital ecosystem to drive healthy margins

The path to profitability. Beyond these bright lights in the industry, MNOs still have limited visibility into the investment required for mobile money to succeed, what profit margins to expect, and how margins will change as their service matures. This paper aims to provide guidance for operators seeking to evaluate the profitability of mobile money…

10 Challenges That Could Make or Break India’s Payments Banks

In the year since it was launched, India’s national financial inclusion drive has generated plenty of headlines – and even scored a Guinness World Record. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it has issued in-principal approval to 11 of the 42 applicants that requested Payments Bank (PB) licenses. The government’s goal for these banks…

Position Paper on Virtual Currencies- A South African Example

This document outlines the position of the South African Reserve Bank on virtual currencies as it relates to their mandate and responsibilities. The document consists of five sections, i.e. the first three sections provide background, clarify concepts pertinent to the virtual currency discussion and draw a distinction between various categories of virtual currencies. The document…

Bitcoin Versus Electronic Money

Bitcoin has had a volatile journey since it was launched in 2009, attracting attention among conventional investors as well as the black market. Regulators and policy makers are also following Bitcoin, raising the occasional eyebrow as they evaluate Bitcoin’s risks and benefits and how to regulate this little understood virtual currency. Some media reports have…

Glossary of Terms Related To Payment, Clearing And Settlement Systems

This glossary of terms from the European Bank gives explanation of terms relating to payment, clearing and settlement systems.

Understanding the Fractional Reserve Banking System

When you put your money into a savings account or a checking account at a bank, the bank doesn’t just sock it away in a vault underground somewhere. Instead, it lends your money to other individuals and companies who need it. Thanks to the magic of fractional banking, when your banks lends your money to other…

Convergence of banking and telecoms

Telecom operators and retail banks have been converging for years. As remaining barriers vanish and extrinsic factors push further convergence, banks will see increasing competition from telecom operators, which will aggressively enter into financial services, especially in transactional lines of business. This Viewpoint explores the opportunities for competition or co-opetition between these industries that are…

The Digital Disruption Battlefield

Digital technology has already transformed several industries, not only by digitalising the sales process but, in some cases, the product. Blockbusters and Borders branches have closed down not only because movies and books can more conveniently be ordered online but because they have become electronic products, deliverable online. Does a similar fate await today’s large…

Blockchain Trends & Applications

This insights post explores the trends within blockchain and which corporates are investing in blockchain.

Crowdfunding Monitoring Switzerland 2016

Crowdfunding is an alternative way of raising capital that uses online platforms. The funds can be used for all kinds of projects, such as consumer loans, participating in a business start-up, acquiring a property or publishing a photo book. Although crowdfunding projects cover a wide range of genres, they all have one thing in common:…

Peer-to-Peer Lending: Examining the Industry and the Borrower Experience

Online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending websites, often referred to as “Shadow Lenders”, have gained significant traction since the credit crunch resulting from the 2008 financial crisis. The purpose of these rapidly-growing websites is to facilitate loans of under $35,000 between borrowers and investors. The result is a transparent loan platform where individual investors can determine a…

Five Year Vision of Distributed Ledgers

Tim Swanson tries to answer the question of distributed ledgers and where this technology will be five years in this slideshow.  

Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

 This paper explores Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology and proposes a system for electronic transfers without relying on trust. Abstract: A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the…

The Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm

While several consensus algorithms exist for the Byzantine Generals Problem, specifically as it pertains to distributed payment systems, many suffer from high latency induced by the requirement that all nodes within the network communicate synchronously. This white paper presents a novel consensus algorithm that circumvents this requirement by utilizing collectively-trusted subnetworks within the larger network.…

Tax treatment of crypto-currencies in Australia – specifically bitcoin

Governments are starting to realise the role of cryptocurrencies and have thus amended their taxation policy to include cryptocurrency remuneration. See this Australian example of how the Government is taxing cryptocurrency.

Money is no object: Understanding the evolving cryptocurrency market

Cryptocurrency: media sensation and investment fad? The issue is no longer whether cryptocurrency will survive, but rather how it will evolve. Each of the five key market participants— merchants and consumers, tech developers, investors, financial institutions, and regulators—will play a critical role in this process. Learn more about this exciting new technology, as well as…

GSMA Mobile Enabled Community Services: Sustainable Energy & Water Access through M2M Connectivity

This paper from the GSMA aims to shed light on the opportunities created by M2M solutions to reach and empower underserved populations in the developing world. The emergence of new business models leveraging GSM connectivity for remote operation and monitoring is already helping tens of thousands of people gain access to more affordable and sustainable…

Mobile Payments Infrastructure Access and Its Regulation: USSD

This working paper from CGAP explores the mobile payments infrastructure and regulation, the impact on competition and how regulation can address access issues in the mobile payments market.

The purpose of this paper from IFC is to describe trends in the growing number of innovations in the mobile money and digital payments space, and to understand how these simple systems are evolving to deliver a more effective and diverse portfolio of financial services. We have intentionally focused on innovations that have practical applications…

An Emerging Platform: From Money Transfer System to Mobile Money Ecosystem.

While it has often been described as a money transfer product, when mobile money reaches scale it can also be seen as a network infrastructure and platform facilitating the exchange of cash and electronic value between various economic actors including clients, businesses, the government, and financial service providers. In the past, the emergence of other…

Choosing a technical model for A2A interoperability: Lessons from Tanzania and Pakistan

In 2014, the GSMA engaged with mobile money service providers (MMSPs) in eight markets to foster collaboration and establish domestic account-to-account (A2A) interoperability. This paper focuses on Tanzania and Pakistan – two of the three markets – where account to account interoperability was implemented in 2014. With very different regulatory environments and commercial models, providers…

Achieving Interoperability in Mobile Financial Services: Tanzania Case Study

This case study from IFC examines Tanzania’s journey to-date in establishing rules to govern MFS interoperability by tracing the contextual factors, motivations, and processes that contributed to the agreement reached in September 2014 to interconnect according to an agreed industry set of rules for wallet-to-wallet transfers (supported with bilateral agreements between operators). It builds on…

Mobile Infrastructure Sharing

This paper from the GSMA is based upon a series of interviews with mobile network operators and infrastructure providers, a literature review and analysis of existing examples of site sharing. Its purpose is to set out some of the key themes associated with infrastructure sharing and to provoke discussion on this issue. It is not…

USAID/Philippines Scaling Innovations In Mobile Money (Simm) Project

From October 2012 through March 2013, SIMM focused its efforts in forging partnerships with its four (4) pilot cities and municipality, which was made official through the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between USAID with each of the pilot cities and municipality. These partnerships helped usher the establishment of mobile money ecosystems with the…

Interoperability and the Pathways Towards Inclusive Retail Payments in Pakistan

Interoperability of retail payment instruments is not an objective in its own right; rather it is a means of achieving other desirable objectives. Interoperability can promote a range of intermediate objectives such as greater productive efficiency, convenience for customers and dynamic efficiency through promoting competition within the financial sector. However, the attainment of intermediate objectives…

Competition in Mobile Financial Services Lessons from Kenya and Tanzania

Mobile financial services (MFS) are the main drivers of financial inclusion in many developing countries; they provide low-income consumers with access to transfers, payments, and increasingly more complex products such as credit, savings, and insurance.2 MFS channels can provide the advantages of convenient, secure, and cost-efficient product offerings to consumers. In several markets, MFS have…

Mobile Money Regulation: Is more regulation better?

This presentation by the GSMA looks at the role of regulation and its influence on the uptake of mobile money and how to scale the business.

Enabling Mobile Money Policies in Kenya: Fostering a Digital Financial Revolution

This case study from the GSMA traces the early stages of mobile money development in Kenya, from its conceptualisation to the design and codification of a suitable regulatory model, showing that by creating an enabling regulatory environment and nurturing new technologies such as mobile money, regulators can be agents of change for financial inclusion. This…

The Mobile Money Revolution: NFC Mobile Payments

Mobile money refers to financial transactions and services that can be carried out using a mobile device such as a mobile phone or tablet. These services may or may not be linked directly to a bank account. Previously, recharging your mobile meant adding more airtime but now increasingly you will be able to add money…

A Secure Operational Model for Mobile Payments

This paper explores a secure model for mobile payments. Instead of paying by cash, check, or credit cards, customers can now also use their mobile devices to pay for a wide range of services and both digital and physical goods. However, customers’ security concerns are a major barrier to the broad adoption and use of…

Easypaisa Mobile Money Innovation in Pakistan

EASYPAISA a mobile money service launched in Pakistan in 2009, serves more than five million customers a month through 25,000 points of service. By the end of 2012, it had processed more than 100 million transactions with a throughput of more than US$ 1.4 billion. Easypaisa was identified as a 2012 GSMA Mobile Money Sprinter…

Digital Financial Inclusion- an ICT perspective

Mobile financial services have become an important driver of financial inclusion in a growing number of countries. They are bringing finance to the ‘unbanked’, who have hitherto not had access to formal financial services – whether because they had no bank branches in their areas or services were just too expensive. Starting with mobile money…

Promoting Competition in Mobile Payments: The Role of USSD

This Brief from CGAP outlines why USSD is important for mobile payments and highlights the main types of complaints arising as a result of restricted USSD access for MFS providers. It then explores regulatory issues, including when regulatory intervention may be required, which regulator might be best placed to intervene, and what type of regulation…

Platforms for Successful Mobile Money Service

Based on extensive research of mobile money service providers and platform vendors, this paper by the GSMA aims to help service providers identify the functional and technical features they require for a platform to meet their business needs. The paper reviews what makes money money a unique type of service for MNOs, identifying the main…

Segmenting Your Mobile Money Customer Base to Drive Usage

This presentation from GSMA will provide new tools for operators to drive regular usage by segmenting their mobile money customer base.

Mobile Money in the Philippines – The Market, the Models and Regulation

This case study from the GMSA explores the Philippines and its place among the most advanced mobile money markets in the world. In 2001, SMART Communications launched SMART Money in partnership with Banco de Oro. The service, which uses SIM Tool-Kit, enables customers to buy airtime, send and receive money domestically and internationally via mobile,…

M-PESA Case Study

M-PESA was the first product of its kind to be introduced in Kenya and is generally viewed as a successful implementation that should be used as a model for other developing countries. This paper from IFC discusses the methodology employed by Safaricom and the Vodafone Group during the implementation of M-PESA.

Drivers of digital financial services inactivity in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire is the largest Digital Financial Services market in the West African Economic and Monetary Union. In 2014, Côte d’Ivoire accounted for over 50 percent of the value deposited into mobile money accounts in the region. However, in common with many markets across the globe, Côte d’Ivoire has a high level of inactive DFS…

Marketing Mobile Money: Top 3 Challenges

This presentation from the GSMA explores the top 3 challenges in marketing mobile money: 1) segmenting the market; 2) complicated customer journey; and 3) the marketing mix required.

Using Mobile Data for Development

Mobile devices generate a range of data about their users. Information about identity, location, social patterns, movement, finances and even ambient environmental conditions can be derived from the data logged in mobile systems. As this data is uniquely detailed and tractable, it can capture information not easily found from other sources at a scale that…

The Potential of Digital Data

This Focus Note from CGAP  asks how far emerging new sources of digital data can improve business model economics, reach more people, and enable greater customization. What can this trend contribute to advancing financial inclusion and financial service providers?

Unlocking Big Data Value

Using Big Data to get the right information to identify the right markets and customers at the right time enables institutions to make the right strategic decisions. This report from PWC looks at how to gather, analyse and use data for decision making.  

Responsible Digital Payments Guidelines

The Better Than Cash Alliance ‘Responsible Digital Payments Guidelines’ identify eight good practices for engaging with clients who are sending or receiving digital payments and who have previously been financially excluded or underserved.

A Note on Macro-Financial Implications of Mobile Money Schemes

Across the world mobile money schemes are being launched. In such schemes financial service providers interact with clients via mobile phones or other mobile devices such as tablets. Service offerings include payments and saving as well as basic insurance products and sometimes credit based on scoring methods that use information about the client’s payment history.…

Are Banks and Microfinance Institutions Natural Partners in Financial Inclusion?

In India, the business case of the BC model is yet unclear. The main limiting factor is very low customer activity rates. Low usage is compounded by the prevalence of unduly low pricing models on the basic savings proposition, which is based on a perception that customers have low willingness to pay for savings services.…

Designing Successful Distribution Strategies for Digital Money

This paper by Ignacio Mas documents the variety of ways in which digital financial service providers in developing countries have assembled and managed networks of retail stores as their agents for cash in/cash out payments and for account and product sales. It uses seven case studies to illustrate how optimal channel structures differ and develop…

Competition Aspects of New Mobile Payment Networks: The Case of Mobile Payments in Spain

This note by Ignacio Mas reviews the Spanish experience with regulating the competition aspects of new mobile payment networks in the absence of formal technical standards. The saga is in two parts, as the strategy of the early movers, dominant telco Telefonica and leading bank BBVA, changed radically in mid-course. At first, they sought to…

Going Cashless at the Point of Sale: Hits and Misses in Developed Countries

This paper by Ignacio Mas reviews some of the bigger failures and some of the more promising experiences in the use of smartcards and mobile phones as payment platforms in developed countries. We selected just a few examples – from dozens of possibilities – and did not delve into much detail on any given scheme.…

Enabling Different Paths to Development of Mobile Money Ecosystems

Building a successful mobile money system requires a complex ecosystem of players handling a large volume of transactions. This paper by Ignacio Mas identifies four principal paths to building mobile money ecosystems; makes the case that countries should adopt regulatory frameworks that allow for any or all of these models to emerge; and develops the…

Banking the Poor Through Everyday Stores

This paper by Ignacio Mas reviews the opportunities and strategic choices facing banks considering branchless banking options. Technology, and in particular the spread of real-time mobile communications networks, permits financial service providers to delegate ‘last mile’ cash management and customer servicing functions to third-party retail outlets. By making basic deposit, withdrawal, and payment functions available…

Banking Through Networks of Retail Agents

Technology can enable banks and their customers to interact remotely in a trusted way through existing local retail outlets. Customers can be issued bank cards with appropriate personal identification number (PIN)-based or biometric security features, and the local store – the “banking agent” – can be equipped with a point-of-sale (POS) device controlled by and…

The Role of Mobile Operators in Expanding Access to Finance

Mobile phones may have a huge role to play in expanding access to finance. But does the company that operates the mobile network need to actually provide financial services? Or should others offer financial services, with the mobile operator merely providing the underlying wireless connectivity? The fact that mobile phones can be used as transactional…

Business Primitives: Enabling Payment Lifecycles through Software

This paper by Ignacio Mas defines ‘business primitives’ as low-level operations from which higher-level, more complex operations can be constructed. It sets out to understand what most businesses in Kenya — the land of the ubiquitous M-PESA — do every day that could be simplified and reinforced through software. It focuses on potential functionalities related…

Banking for the Poor: State-of-the-Art Financial Offerings for the Developing World

This paper by Ignacio Mas describes the opportunity of using mobile phones as a way to increase access to finance in developing counties. It also explains how mobile payments can trigger innovation and entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid, and how they can serve to bring liquidity to rural communities.

The Utility of Retail Payments in Addressing the Financial Inclusion Gap in Developing Countries

This paper by Ignacio Mas outlines the role of mobile phones in addressing the financial inclusion gap in developing countries and the value of retail payments in jump-starting mobile schemes. It then lays four key challenges in the evolution of mobile money schemes from pure payment mechanisms to vehicles for broader financial inclusion.

A Digital Money Grid for Modern Citizenship: Latin American Scenarios, 2015-25

This paper from Ignacio Mas explores five different transition paths to the realization of an inclusive, affordable, real-time money grid that connects all citizens. The five paths represent different ways to deal with the business model challenges of defeating the tyranny of scale and the construction of fuller customer propositions. They differ fundamentally in terms…

Smart Banknotes: A Proposal for Bank Notes that Bridge the Gap Between Physical and Electronic Money

Cash imposes large costs on society, yet it is hard to envision moving to an entirely cashless society. If we cannot get rid of cash, then we need to change it in a way that makes it less costly for all to handle. This paper by Ignacio Mas considers the possibility of creating a new…

Why Doesn’t Every Kenyan Business Have a Mobile Money Account?

The contribution of mobile payments (and in particular M-PESA) in Kenya to strengthening family/social networks is well documented, and its potential to tackle financial inclusion is well understood. What has perhaps received less attention is how well mobile money is serving the business market. This study by Ignacio Mas assesses how extensive is the use…

Where’s the Cash? The Geography of Cash Points in Tanzania

The Financial Sector Deepening Trust of Tanzania (FSDT) has conducted two censuses of cash outlets in Tanzania, in 2012 and again in 2014. The availability of places where one can exchange cash for transferable or storable electronic value is an essential component of financial access, and the spread of mobile money in recent years has…

Realizing the Potential of Branchless Banking: Challenges Ahead

This paper from Ignacio Mas further develops a broad vision for financial inclusion sketched out by Mas (2008), where payments can be easily made through an electronic network. What makes visioning such a payments utility possible is the technology we have today, which can be used to bridge distances, close information gaps, contain settlement risks,…

The Economics of Branchless Banking

This paper by Ignacio Mas provides a formal analysis of the economic drivers for branchless banking solutions. It exposes the design trade-offs that occur at the each of the key layers of service: the retail network (transaction acquisition), payments network (transaction aggregation and routing) and account/service platforms. It also reviews the volume drivers of various…

Bridges to Cash: The Retail End of M-PESA

M-PESA is a remarkably successful mobile payments system launched in Kenya three years ago. Users are able to send money to each other conveniently from their M-PESA using only their mobile phones. A key to the success of M-PESA is the availability of an extensive network of retail shops that accept M-PESA deposits and withdrawals,…

Three Keys to M-PESA’s Success: Branding, Channel Management and Pricing

M-PESA, a mobile-phone based electronic payments system, has been adopted by 8.5 million Kenyans in the relatively short span of 2½ years. Surveys of users show it is a highly valued service, and Safaricom continues to expand the range of applications it can be used for. This paper by Ignacio Mas explores how Safaricom, the…

Designing Mobile Money Services: Lessons from M-PESA

This paper by Ignacio Mas presents ten key service design features that have facilitated the rapid adoption and active use of M-PESA in Kenya. These relate to branding and messaging, ease of use, consistency of customer experience, agent monitoring, instantaneous customer registration, free deposits, ability to send money to non-registered customers, and agent channel growth.

Beyond Products: Building Integrated Customer Experiences on Mobile Phones

With today’s mobile money platforms, the value proposition for keeping money digital and driving up usage of digital payments is still thin. Mobile money is built on speed (real-time clearing) and liquidity (thousands of merchants where you can cash in and out). It’s ready-cash (an immediately accessible mobile wallet), cash-to-go (P2P money transfers, billpay). But…

Banking on Mobiles: Why, How, For Whom

This paper by Ignacio Mas examines how banks can translate the potential of mobile phones into greater financial access for poor people. Although mobile phone operators have been able to use the mobile phone for mobile remittance and bill payment services in several countries, banks have had little success in using mobile phones as part…

Savings as forward Payments: Innovations on Mobile Money Platforms

This paper by Ignacio Mas presents a new framework which allows people to manage their diverse payment, cashflow management and commitment savings needs simply and intuitively, from a single account. It builds on the logic of mobile money platforms, which provide customers with the ability to initiate real-time electronic payments from their mobile phone and…

Branchless and Mobile Banking Solutions for the Poor: A Survey of the Literature

This paper by Ignacio Mas and others reviews the growing literature that has spawned around branchless and mobile banking in developing countries over the last five years. Around 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to formal financial services, and yet 1 billion of them have a mobile phone. Branchless banking systems…

On The Comparability Of Fees Related To Payment Accounts, Payment Account Switching And Access To Payment Accounts With Basic Features

Based on these findings and following an analysis of the available options, this European Commission report concluded that the recommended set of policy measures should consist of the introduction of a standard list of fees charged for services offered on payment accounts; measures aimed at ensuring the independence of websites comparing fees for services offered…

Non-banks in Retail Payments

The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) has issued the report Non-banks in retail payments to examine the role of non-banks in retail payment services and analyse the implications of the growing importance of these entities in retail payments. The report is based on several fact-finding exercises that were conducted to support the analysis, revealing a…

The impact of API maturity on the Financial Inclusion agenda

This paper contextualizes the value of ‘open’ and ‘mature’ APIs and what that means. It outlines some of the key characteristics of what APIs for such Emerging Market, Financial Inclusion focused systems are and the challenges being faced.  It explores some of the (disjointed) efforts being made to address the gaps and in leading to…

Why Open APIs Matter: Tech Partnerships Power Development

If you’re one of the millions of people who use their mobile to send money or pay a bill, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about how your phone connects to the mobile network, and then to a financial service provider, and then to the recipient of your cash. But as software developers, this…

Can Open APIs Accelerate the Digital Finance Ecosystem?

Safaricom announced it would finally open access to its M-PESA API in the summer of 2015.  What makes Safaricom’s announcement significant is the opportunity it presents for developers to build applications that use mobile money to facilitate payments for new types of services. An open API will likely spur more innovation in products and services…

The rise of APIs

The number of SaaS applications has exploded and there is a rising wave of software innovation in the area of APIs that provide critical connective tissue and increasingly important functionality. There has been a proliferation of third-party API companies, which is fundamentally changing the dynamics of how software is created and brought to market. This article…

APIs: A bridge between mobile operators and start-ups in emerging markets

In 2006, fewer than 400 public APIs were available globally. Ten years later there are around 15,000 APIs, with 40 new ones created every week. Salesforce already generates 50% of its revenues via APIs, eBay generates 60%, and Expedia 90%. Welcome to the new API economy. This paper from the GSMA looks at how in emerging…

Responsible Digital Payments Guidelines

The Better Than Cash Alliance ‘Responsible Digital Payments Guidelines‘ identify eight good practices for engaging with clients who are sending or receiving digital payments and who have previously been financially excluded or underserved.

Digital Identity: Towards Shared Principles for Public and Private Sector Cooperation

The ability to prove one’s identity is increasingly recognized as the basis for participation in social, political economic and cultural life. Yet at least a billion people in developing countries lack any form of officially recognized ID. This problem disproportionally impacts rural residents, poor people, women, children and other vulnerable groups in Africa and Asia.…

Digital Payments Transformation From transactions to consumer interactions

This stage of connectivity is driving digital payments transformation – the migration of cash payments and plastic card payments to payments made over digital channels, either from dematerialized cards held on digital wallets or in the cloud, or from new digital payment mechanisms. The addressable market is huge: Accenture’s analysis shows that cash and card…

Cutting Through the FinTech Noise: Markers of Success, Imperatives For Banks

Banking has historically been one of the business sectors most resistant to disruption by technology. Since the first mortgage was issued in England in the 11th century, banks have built robust businesses with multiple moats: ubiquitous distribution through branches, unique expertise such as credit underwriting underpinned both by data and judgment, even the special status…

An Empirical Examination of Why Mobile Money Schemes Ignite in Some Developing Countries but Flounder in Most

Mobile money schemes have grown rapidly in some developing countries but failed in many more. This paper reports the results of an empirical study of mobile money schemes in 22 developing countries chosen based on prior evidence to include roughly equal numbers of successes and failures. It uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence…

Why Retailers?

A study to understand the user case for financial services offered by retailers in South Africa. The study sought to understand the nature of this demand through an exploration of why and how people use retailers to access financial services. By identifying the key factors that influence the decision to use financial services from retailers…

Mobile Money the Next Wave of Growth

This year’s report from EY draws on detailed research and client insights from EY industry professionals, supplemented by an online survey of 6,000 consumers in 12 countries worldwide across four continents.  The research points to three key findings: 1. Mobile payments are set for a new wave of growth, but disruption is rising in a…

Enhancing the Growth of Plastic Cards in Kenya

Use of credit and debit cards in Kenya has grown substantially over the years with more people moving towards card-based payments. However, as promising as this progress is, Kenyans are yet to fully adapt to the culture of using credit and debit cards when shopping, especially when compared to other markets around the world. Financial…

Mobile Money Services – Design and Development for Financial Inclusion

Mobile money services are being deployed rapidly across emerging markets as a key tool to further the goal of financial inclusion. Financial inclusion, the development of novel methods to enable individuals at the base of the pyramid to access formal financial services and become part of the formal financial system, is considered a key pre-requisite…

10 Ways to Accelerate Mobile Money

Mobile money can transform the lives of 1.8 billion people who have access to a mobile phone but not a bank. It can connect the last mile to basic financial services. Yet despite the over 100 mobile money deployments around the world, only a handful have reached economies of scale. We have learned from these…

Digital Inclusion and Mobile Sector Taxation in Mexico

Seeking to extend ICT access, the government and international organisations have identified affordability and investment as key issues that create barriers to digital inclusion. First, devices and services remain unaffordable for many Mexicans, particularly those in the poorest segments of the population. A basic device accounts for over 5% of annual income for the poorest…

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) Cooperative Governance for Network Innovation, Standards, and Community

This book traces the history and development of a mutual organization in the financial sector called SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Over the last forty years, SWIFT has served the financial services sector as proprietary communications platform, provider of products and services, standards developer, and conference organizer (“Sibos”). Founded to create efficiencies…

Cash Lite: Are We There Yet?: Rethinking the Evolution of Electronic Payments in Kenya Based Evidence in the Kenyan and South African Financial Diaries

While momentum has been growing behind digital payments in advanced economies for decades, movement in developing countries has lagged behind. Some have anticipated that there may be a leapfrog opportunity for accelerated movement towards this vision in Kenya, where the cutting edge M-PESA mobile payment service has grown to near ubiquity across social strata in…

IFC Mobile Money Toolkit

IFC’s Mobile Money Toolkit is a combination of both the best publicly available information and original content and newly created materials. It includes documents available from CGAP, USAID, the World Bank, GSMA, and other organizations that are doing research in the realm of mobile money. Each part contains a number of documents or tools, some…

The Evolution of Fintech: A New Post-Crisis Paradigm?

“FinTech”, a contraction of “Financial technology”, refers to technology enabled financial solutions. It is often seen today as the new marriage of financial services and information technology. However, the interlinkage of finance and technology has a long history and has evolved over three distinct eras, during which finance and technology have evolved together: first in…

Why You Should Care About Bitcoin – Even if You Don´t Believe in it

Bitcoin is likely doomed as an alternative to national currencies, but its key engineering elements offer us the possibility of imagining a radically different approach for architecting electronic payment systems. This paper by Ignacio Mas explores the technologies embedded within bitcoin have the potential for supporting the development of more open, contestable and interconnected ecosystems…

Using Broadband to Enhance Financial Inclusion

The progress of financial inclusion in the Latin American and Caribbean region is constrained by the high cost of providing and accessing financial services. On the client side, micro- and small-sized firms, as well as low-income households, face high transaction costs as a result of the challenges of getting to points of service and meeting…

Modelo Perú: A Unique Approach to Financial Inclusion

Peru is well regarded internationally for having a well-developed formal financial sector. However, more than 70% of Peruvians are excluded financially. This is for a variety of reasons, including high transaction costs, financial illiteracy, and lack of accessibility in remote areas. Through Modelo Perú – a unique collaboration between the country’s financial institutions, government, telecommunications…

Low-balance bank accounts, part 2: Must banks collaborate to succeed?

Low-balance transactional accounts on their own probably lose money for most large banks. There may, nonetheless, be a business case to issue them. Forms of collaboration among issuers may help to reduce losses, even though collaboration may not be necessary to achieve success. This paper reaches these conclusions based on reviewing evidence of South Africa’s…

Payment APIs: What, Why, and for Whom? An Introduction to Payment Interfaces & the Kenyan Market

Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are a necessary component of a robust digital ecosystem, and critical to the health of the surrounding economy. These interfaces allow businesses to connect in a manner that enables each to focus on developing and perfecting their core services while relying on the others for areas outside their expertise. Conversely,…

Payment Mechanisms and Anti-Poverty Programs: Evidence from a Mobile Money Cash Transfer Experiment in Niger

Cash transfers have become an increasingly important component of social protection policies in both developed and developing countries. While such programs are often implemented electronically in developed countries, in many developing countries with weak financial infrastructure, such transfers are distributed manually, resulting in significant costs to program recipients and the public sector alike. The introduction…

Big Data, Small Credit the Digital Revolution and Its Impact on Emerging Market Consumers

Though these are early days, there is enough to suggest that hundreds of millions of mass-market consumers may not have to remain “invisible” to formal, unsecured credit for much longer. Indeed, “Big Data, Small Credit” (BDSC) early adopters are already pointing the way, indicating both a nuanced understanding of their preferences and transactions and an…

Big Data: New Tricks for Econometrics

Nowadays computers are in the middle of most economic transactions. These “computer-mediated transactions” generate huge amounts of data, and new tools can be used to manipulate and analyze this data. This essay offers a brief introduction to some of these tools and methods.

Is Payment Tokenization Ready for Primetime?

This white paper will share what the group learned by providing an overview of the current U.S. payment tokenization landscape for mobile and digital commerce (vs. physical card payments); and describe how the different tokenization systems interoperate and the status of their implementation plans to a broader audience of industry stakeholders, policymakers, and regulators. Success…

Tokenization Explained: What it Is, How it Works and How You Can Benefit

Tokenization can be defined as the replacement of a high-value credential with a surrogate number that can only be used within a particular context. Since this definition is quite broad, the word ‘token’ can mean many things to many people. In the context of this whitepaper, the high-value credential is the PAN. Even within this…

Managing the Risk of Mobile Banking Technologies

The report should be of interest to: mobile Financial Service Providers, whether banks, MNOs or non-banks, who are considering introducing m-FS, and financial regulators who are increasingly interested in the risks of m-banking and the extent to which providers are understanding and managing these risks.

Marketing Branchless Banking

Collected examples of branchless banking advertisements from around the world and interviewed providers about the lessons they’ve learned and how they’ve adapted their marketing strategies. The results – including case studies and examples of marketing collateral – are in this compilation deck.

Mobile Money Product Adoption Life Cycle

This paper explains how product diffusion and the related technology adoption curve can explain why some mobile money services start strong among a small sample of the population but eventually stagnate. The document also describes what MFSPs can do to “cross the chasm” and increase adoption in the majority of the market.

Driving Customer Usage of Mobile Money for the Unbanked

This paper first considers the customer journey for mobile money, emphasizing that moving the consumer from awareness to regular use requires different marketing interventions at each step in the journey. Then considers mobile money in its context, looking closely at the market situation to determine how to identify the best target market for mobile money…

The Journey Toward Cash Lite-Addressing Poverty Saving Money and Increasing Transparency by Accelerating the Shift to Electronic Payments

This study examines the three shifts to electronic payments; aggregates the findings of a range of studies about the benefits of electronic payment adoption; identifies barriers that need to be addressed in order to achieve a shift toward “cash lite”; and concludes with a guide for governments, private sector businesses (as users of e-payments rather…

Scaling Mobile Money

Retail payment systems require scale to get off the ground and struggle to grow incrementally, as they need to build trust, reap network effects and overcome chicken-and-egg problems of acquiring both customers and merchants. To overcome these barriers, they must (i) create enough urgency in customers’ minds to learn about, try, and use the service;…

Mobile Payments Go Viral: M-PESA in Kenya

M-PESA is a small-value electronic payment and store of value system that is accessible from ordinary mobile phones. It has seen exceptional growth since its introduction by mobile phone operator Safaricom in Kenya in March 2007: it has already been adopted by 14 million customers (corresponding to 68 percent of Kenya’s adult population) and processes…

Innovation and Disruption in U.S. Merchant Payments

The U.S. merchant payments landscape is undergoing a period of rapid, technology-driven change. Mobile, online and social technologies are revolution- izing consumer access to information and sparking demand for new services that can support multichannel commerce, big data analytics, enhanced loyalty pro- grams and targeted advertising. Consumers use the new tools to move dynami- cally…

Product Innovations on Mobile Money

This paper conducts a thorough review of the state of product development and innovation on mobile money platforms. It is, in effect, a first-of-its-kind catalog of products and services that have been rolled out, are being piloted or have been proposed. In each case we discuss the specific functionalities they entail, or how they build…

Alternative Delivery Channels and Technology

This handbook, produced in collaboration with Software Group, aims to help financial institutions successfully implement alternative delivery channel projects in order to further financial inclusion. It provides a set-by-step, practical guide to building alternative delivery channels that links technology choices with the overall business process.

2015 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money

This report focuses on the state of the mobile money sector and industry trends, covering: Availability and spread of mobile money services globally. Access to mobile money services, including both physical access through agent networks and technical access through the mobile interface. Adoption and customer activity levels, particularly how mobile money providers drive scale. Usage…

Pricing in Retail Payment Systems: A Public Policy Perspective on Pricing of Payment Cards

The provision of retail payment services is complex with many participants engaging in a series of interrelated bilateral transactions and subject to large economies of scale and scope along with strong adoption, usage and network externalities. This makes sound public policy difficult. This paper focuses on three types of market interventions for various countries, arguing…

The Social and Private Cost of Retail Payment Instruments

The European Central Bank (ECB) carried out a study of the social and private costs of different payment instruments with the participation of 13 national central banks in the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). It shows that the costs to society of providing retail payment services are substantial. On average, they amount to almost…

Cross-Border Low Value Payments and Regional Integration: Enablers and Disablers

This paper discusses the enablers and disablers of cross-border low value payments and regional integration. The current landscape for cross-border payments is dominated by correspondent banking relationships. Relying on one or more correspondent banks to send payments abroad is slow and expensive, and both sending and receiving banks often have little to no visibility of…

Managing Operational Risk in Clearing and Settlement Systems

Awareness of operational risk has increased greatly in recent years, both at individual financial institutions and for payment, clearing, and settlement systems (PCSS). PCSS consist of networks of interconnected elements (i.e., central operators, participants, and settlement agents); operational problems at any one of the key elements have the potential to disrupt the system as a…

Money Creation in the Modern Economy

This article explains how the majority of money in the modern economy is created by commercial banks making loans. Money creation in practice differs from some popular misconceptions — banks do not act simply as intermediaries, lending out deposits that savers place with them, and nor do they ‘multiply up’ central bank money to create…

The Coming of Age of Digital Payments as a Field

This paper has three objectives. It lays out the key differences between a banking and a payments mindset, within the historical context in which these fields have developed. It initiates a discussion on whether it is useful to articulate the digital payments space as an emerging profession distinct from banking, and if so, what might…

Strains of Digital Money

This paper provides a basic framework that explains how the major types of known digital money solutions relate to each other, i.e. what are the similarities and differences, and hence the pros and cons, of each. The broader purpose is to offer fresh new perspectives on how digital money grids might be pieced together in…

The Island of Stone Money

The Island Of Stone Money – large stones quarried and shaped on a distant island were used as money on the Island of Yap. After Germany acquired the island at the turn of the century, its officials had difficulty inducing the residents to repair the footpaths until they resorted to the desperate expedient of taking…

Fertile Grounds for Mobile Money: Towards a Framework for Analyzing Enabling Environments

The potential of mobile phones to revolutionize access to financial services in developing countries is exemplified powerfully by the success of the M-Pesa mobile money service in Kenya. But the apparent difficulty of replicating M-Pesa’s success even in neighboring countries suggests that some contexts may be more receptive to such an innovation than others. This…

Global Trends in Large Value Payments

Globalization and technological innovation are two major forces affecting the financial system and its infrastructure. Perhaps nowhere are these trends more apparent than in the internationalization and automation of payments. While the effects of globalization and technological innovation are most obvious on retail payments, the influence is equally impressive on wholesale, or interbank, payments. Given…

The Importance of the Retail Payment System

This article hosted by SSRN, explores the importance of an efficient retail payment system and develops an integrated framework for evaluation of the retail payment system by policy makers. It examines the costs and benefits of the various types of retail payment system, focusing on the seven desirable benefits of the retail payment system: (1)…

The Next Digital Finance Frontier: Filling the Accounts

It is commonly accepted that poor people find value in remote digital payments propositions. A large number of Tanzanians have flocked to emerging mobile payment solutions, whether it is to send money home, facilitate informal business transactions, pay for bills, or buy pre-paid electricity. This has created tantalizing prospects for such solutions to be the…

Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study

The world of money and finance is transforming before our eyes. Digitsied assets and innovative financial channels, instruments and systems are creating new paradigms for financial transaction and forging alternative conduits of capital. The Cambridge Centre for Alternatve Finance, since its founding in 2015, has been at the forefront of documenting, analysing and indeed critically…

Financial Regulations for Improving Financial Inclusion

As recently as 2011, only 42 percent of adult Kenyans had a financial account of any kind; by 2014, according to the Global Findex database, that number had risen to 75 percent, including 63 percent of the poorest two-fifths. In Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the share of adults with financial accounts, either a traditional…

The Role of Identification in the post 2015 Development Agenda

The post-2015 development agenda is being shaped as we speak. The role of identity and identification and its importance to development outcomes places it within the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda—specifically as one of the proposed SDG targets (#16.9), but also as a key enabler of the efficacy of many other SDG targets. Although…

Achieving Interoperability in Mobile Finacial Services: Tanzania Case Study

In September 2014 the mobile financial services industry in Tanzania signed an agreement that allows customers belonging to one mobile money scheme to transfer money to a customer with an account at a different mobile money scheme. Tanzania thus became the first country in the world with an industry-agreed interoperable market for mobile financial services.…

Minding the Identity Gaps

This paper by David Porteous and Ignacio Mas highlights that we should not get caught up in the idea that digital identity is fundamentally—or even primarily—about your full name and a legal ID number. Your digital identity is clearly about you, but it is less clear exactly what about you it is meant to represent.…

Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers

This Code of Conduct identifies principles aimed at promoting mobile money providers’ adoption of consistent risk mitigation practices in certain critical areas of their business.

Operational Guidelines for Interoperability: A Customer-centric Approach

This publication sets out operational guidelines for mobile money providers to consider when introducing an interoperable service for their customers. Successful A2A interoperability should bring significant benefits for providers and customers alike, but poor implementation could jeopardise adoption and result in inefficient use of financial resources, inequitable risksharing among participants, actual financial losses for participants,…

Identification for Development: The Biometrics Revolution

This paper by Centre for Global Development surveys 160 cases where biometric identification has been used for economic, political, and social purposes in developing countries. About half of these cases have been supported by donors. Recognizing the need for more rigorous assessments and more open data on performance, the paper draws some conclusions about identification…