Displaying all posts under the topic of Technology Adoption
May 21, 2013
In the past few weeks, the local government of West Bengal has been embroiled in a financial and political crisis that has potentially large impacts on the state’s poor and its MFIs. After discovering that the commercial entity the Saradha Group had duped thousands of investors through a real estate Ponzi scheme, the state minister launched a full investigation of over 70 other deposit-taking entities which are grouped under the category of “chit funds.”
March 5, 2013
The mobile money revolution has been greeted with great excitement in some circles for the potential it holds to increase financial access for the world’s poorest. Women may especially benefit from expanding financial inclusion through mobile financial services (MFS).
One way to cope with an emergency is to borrow money from family and friends. But that typically doesn’t work when a disaster strikes a whole area. Sending and receiving money over larger distances, when transferring cash from person-to-person is impractical or impossible, can be very expensive. There are a litany of costs, from communications, to finding and traveling to agents, to the actual financial cost of the transfer. And don’t forget the cost of delay—in an emergency, delays in receiving needed funds can have big consequences.
What’s next? Jamie Zimmerman says it's the opportunity to make government-to-person payments a major vehicle of financial inclusion.
December 14, 2012
One of the many important questions in the transition to mobile and/or electronic money is who will bear the costs associated with using the system. This question is particularly salient since the Kenyan government announced it was planning to begin taxing mobile money transfers, adding to the cost of the system.
November 30, 2012
A few weeks ago I wrote that a transition to electronic payments will not be a boon to poor households unless the financial systems that undergird payments become more focused on serving poor households. It’s vitally important to think of the value and benefits of electronic payments within a system.
A couple of recent news stories highlight what a financial system enabled by electronic payments can do, even without the active cooperation of traditional banks.
October 4, 2012
February 21, 2012
The notion that we cannot count on brick-and-mortar investments to massively expand access to finance in developing countries is now widely accepted. We need to go branchless, and to do so safely we have an opportunity to leverage mobile phones that are increasingly ubiquitous. That’s clear at an infrastructure level, but I don’t think there is much understanding of what that means at the service level. Let me paint the picture as I see it, at the risk of sounding all high-level and new agey. ...
January 4, 2012
What has been the biggest event in the financial inclusion space over the last year?
The shift in the field’s thinking to recognize the poor’s deep need for payments capabilities on par with other financial needs.
December 28, 2011
Critics of microfinance have knocked down an army of straw men in recent years, and 2011 was no different. But it’s high time for microfinance practitioners to stop being defensive. We know enough about the perils and potentials of poverty-focused microfinance to address the real needs of the poor.