Digital Financial Services All Projects


  • Consulting Services for Eko in India

    Eko India Financial Services, a business correspondent (agent) service provider for India's two largest banks, provides basic savings and remittance services to customers (nearly 80% of whom are migrants or the unbanked section of the population) through mobile banking. Eko has processed 3.1 million transactions worth USD 410 million, for approximately 1 million unique customers, through a network of 1,600 agents across Bihar, Delhi, and Jharkhand. Eko has diversified its product portfolio, broad-based its partnership and expanded to Bihar, U.P. and Maharashtra. MicroSave has been closely engaged with Eko since 2008, working on risk management; market research; product and channel innovation; operational support; process improvement; marketing; and agent management and training.  

  • Assessing Emerging Consumer Risk in Digital Financial Services: Global

    CGAP and the Omidyar Network hired MicroSave to investigate emerging consumer risk (fraud, data privacy and protection, etc.) through a four-country in-depth research project. We selected Bangladesh, India, the Philippines and Uganda, to get a mixture of regulatory approaches, business models, and market conditions in countries where DFS has been in place for sufficient time, and reached a scale where risks can be well identified and analysed. MicroSave coordinated with the market actors, managing demand-side surveys/focus groups of consumers, and collected relevant supply-side data and insights. It conducted detailed secondary research for each country, synthesising key data and insights, confirmed by desk reviews. We prepared a synthesis paper, as well as stand-alone country case studies, outlining key findings and conclusions to monitor and mitigate risks to consumers and providers, along with a framework of risks and cost-effective solutions, and promising avenues. 

  • Research on Agent Selection, Management and Sustainability in Indonesia

    NetHope/E-mitra contracted MicroSave to conduct research on agent selection, management, and sustainability for its partner, Bank Mandiri. We conducted qualitative (in-depth interviews) and quantitative surveys across nine provinces of Indonesia to design and develop an agent network strategy. The quantitative data analysis included bivariate analysis of the key aspects related to the models, and multivariate analysis to assess suitability of these models for agent operations. The qualitative research was used for triangulation of data and suggesting changes required. Recommendations were based on ranking-based evaluation criteria of the agent models, and included aspects of agent management, such as incentives and commission; training; marketing and promotion; liquidity; support and services. We also conducted two workshops ― one for Bank Mandiri and a second for major stakeholders, such as regulators, banks, MFIs, international financial institutions ― to share the findings and recommendations.

  • The Helix Institute ― Training and Consulting for DFS Providers: Global

    The Helix Institute is a premier, go-to training centre for digital finance. Jointly funded by MicroSave, BMGF, International Finance Corporation, FSD-Africa and UNCDF, it was launched in November 2013, and has already conducted trainings in Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, the Philippines, Samoa, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It has trained nearly 500 DFS professionals and provided on-site technical assistance follow-up missions to a broad range of providers. The training provides practical tools along with templates and techniques to enhance the management of their respective agent networks, helping participants develop action plans. The Helix participants undergo classroom training as well as field visits to experience key aspects of different types of agent networks and other core elements of successful digital finance deployments.
    In addition to its core training on agent network management, The Helix offers a range of acclaimed courses including Product Development Accelerator; Risk and Fraud Management; Digital Finance for Microfinance Institutions: and Core Principles in Digital Finance. Two other courses – Marketing Communications for Digital Finance, and Data Analytics in DFS, are under development. 

  • Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) Surveys: Global

    The ANA programme identifies the factors responsible for the success or failure of specific agent networks across the world. ANA employs large-scale quantitative surveys that measure the health of the agent network in countries where these are developed. It assesses agent networks at national and provider level for selected providers, such as M-Pesa, MTN, Vodafone, Tigo, Airtel, BKash, EasyPaisa in 12 countries. ANA employs large-scale quantitative surveys that measure the health of the agent network in countries where these are developed; and conducts qualitative strategic assessments in nascent markets, such as Nigeria and Indonesia. The activities include: conducting a scoping visit to meet with providers and stakeholders, to understand ground realities and developments in DFS; desk research; developing an analytical framework and research plan; designing quantitative questionnaires and/or qualitative interview guides; conducting field work; analysing the data and producing a country report, available to the public; and confidential, customised business analytics for selected providers. 
    The ANA research team recently designed benchmarks that outline the drivers of success of an agent network and developed a corresponding set of metrics to hone the questionnaire for the second wave of surveys. These benchmarks focus on key operational metrics that providers can use to see how a channel aligns with its value proposition. These benchmarks translate into tailored analytics and a rapid assessment tool for providers.
    The ANA baseline research has been completed in all the 12 countries (Bangladesh, Benin, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), and second-wave surveys have been completed in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The reports have been published in countries like Bangladesh, IndiaIndonesia, KenyaNigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

  • Digital Financial Inclusion in India (DFII)

    MicroSave is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to address some of the major barriers to enhance digital financial inclusion in India. These include regulatory barriers, lack of commercial incentives, and dearth of on-the-ground technical expertise.
    Enhancing access to digitised G2P payments: MicroSave is conducting market research using its market insights for innovation and design (MI4ID) approach, to report on the ‘G2P readiness’ of CICO networks in high-priority direct benefit transfer (DBT) target districts.
    Technical support to banks, ANMs and MNOs: Working with the four highest potential bank-telco-BCNM combinations (Airtel, Vodafone, Tata, SBI), we develop products, test, and roll-out sustainable agent recruitment, training, management/monitoring manuals, audit & control systems, risk management structures, and financial education/marketing materials.
    Policy Advocacy: We leverage knowledge gained through extensive fieldwork, market research, and on-site technical support, to produce policy briefs, technical handbooks, webinars, and other outputs; disseminating them to decision-makers. 

  • Equity Bank: A Long-Term Association in Kenya

    In 2001, Equity Building Society, Kenya, approached MicroSave to understand the reasons for low uptake of their credit products. The resulting research and re-structuring of the products put Equity on the path to transformation into a bank and subsequent listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. MicroSave supported it in product innovation, costing & pricing, business process re-engineering, risk management, strategic and product marketing, staff incentives, etc. Recently, MicroSave worked to build their model for delivering DFS involving: agent network development and management; product-mix assessment; channel and product differentiation; new product development, testing and roll-out; marketing and communication; customer service; and branding and corporate identity. Over 14 years of close collaboration, the bank’s customer base has grown from 109,000 to over 10 million in six countries, making it the most respected mass market bank in Africa. 

  • Digitising Coffee Value Chain Payments in Uganda

    MicroSave has been engaged by MM4P to provide technical assistance to design and implement DFS ecosystem for digitisation of coffee value chain in Uganda. MTN has partnered with one of the leading coffee factories in Uganda, to digitise coffee value chain payments by creating an ecosystem strategy. Three pilot areas will inform MTN’s strategy to digitise coffee and a range of agro value chains, such as fish, maize, tea, and dairy. MicroSave has conducted market research to understand the needs and preferences of the coffee value chain stakeholders (farmers, traders, casual labourers) and agents; performed business analytics; developed project planning and dependency analysis to identify risks and risk-mitigation strategies; developed strategic planning for agent and merchant networks, and marketing strategy for MTN Uganda. We developed and ensured implementation of pilot-test planning; developed new business process flows and support structures; designed and monitored performance measurement and reporting; and helped in continuous pilot support and periodic reviews of the project, while developing roll-out plan and providing follow-up support; and reviewing the bonus paid through mobile money.

  • Leveraging Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna (PMJDY)

    In collaboration and with funding support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) MicroSave conducted three waves of assessments of Bank Mitrs (BMs) and their customers for PMJDY over a span of 15 months (Oct-14 to Dec 15). Researchers interviewed 2,039 and 1,700 Bank Mitrs from 9 states and 41 districts during Wave I and II. For Wave III 1,627 BMs were assessed from 17 states and 42 districts. The number of PMJDY account holders (customers) interviewed were 8,797, 4514 and 4,859 for Wave-I, Wave-II and Wave-III respectively. Findings have been impressive. Details are available here.

  • The Helix Institute of Digital Finance

    Launched in November 2013 as a partnership between MicroSavethe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), The Helix Institute provide world-class training and cutting-edge data for digital financial service providers, designed to develop and grow their capacities in building sustainable and successful deployments. Since the launch of the inaugural training course in November 2013, The Helix Institute has trained 56 organisations, from 19 countries, serving collectively over 600 million customers in their core business. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, with courses around the world, The Helix Institute currently offers two training in agent network management – Core and Advanced Agent Network Accelerator, with two new courses launching at the end of 2015 - Product Development Accelerator and Digital Microfinance Course.  Visit the website for more details:

  • Agent Network Accelerator Research Programme in Africa and Asia

    The Agent Network Accelerator (ANA) research programme, launched in 2013, aims at increasing the global understanding of how to build and manage sustainable cash-in/cash-out (CICO) networks in poor communities, and across broad geographies. Over a four year period, ANA researchers will carry out detailed quantitative and qualitative assessments of more than 25 agent networks, in eight countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan), twice, interviewing approximately 40,000 agents. To date research has been carried out in seven countries, with over 17,500 agent interviews completed. These assessments generate systematic data and leading operational insights across a wide range of agent networks. Data and insights acquired during this research project are documented into outstanding knowledge pieces and research documents, published through The Helix Institute of Digital Finance. Visit their website to read the research reports in full:

  • Implementation of Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), Global

    Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a global programme funded by UNCDF. MM4P provides financial and technical support to service providers and financial service agents; supports market and client research to develop products and services that reach low-income and rural households; brings large-scale users into the DFS system; and assists central banks to create an enabling environment for digital financial services in less developed countries. The programme is active in Benin, Lao PDR, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.

    MicroSave is supporting UNCDF, working with partner institutions in these countries, to implement this project and their DFS programmes. Our role is to:

    • Assist with the development of digital finance and financial inclusion policies/ regulation;
    • Support the roll-out of government benefit transfer programmes;
    • Assist partner institutions to develop high-quality digital finance operations;
    • Review and advise on implementation of their DFS;
    • Establish and implement a learning agenda for the selected partners;
    • Help identify and develop learning opportunities to assist partners;
    • Facilitate a peer-to-peer network between all UNCDF DFS partners to facilitate exchange of experiences, ideas, and personnel; and
    • Publish knowledge products that draw on the lessons learned from UNCDF partners and provide practical information for the global industry.

  • Assessment of Bank Mitr’s under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), India

    National Mission on Financial Inclusion or the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on August 15, 2014 with an objective to provide all households in the country with banking facilities including bank account. Under the universal access to banking facilities, it is envisaged that all 6 lakh villages across the entire country will be mapped according to the ‘Service Area’ of each Bank. At least one fixed point banking outlet will cater to every 1,000 to 1,500 households, known as a Sub Service Area (SSA).

    The SSAs are proposed to be covered through a combination of traditional bank branches and fixed point Bank Mitrs (BM) or Business Correspondents / agents - which act as bank representative and are equipped to provide basic banking services. In order to understand whether SSAs are effectively covered through Bank Mitrs and to survey beneficiaries/ customers under PMJDY, MicroSave conducted an on-the-ground assessment with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The survey was conducted on the request of, and with support from, the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, and Government of India.
    The objectives of the survey to:

    • Verify physical presence of BM and their transaction readiness and to assess the quality of services offered by Bank Mitrs; and
    • Assess whether actual beneficiaries are being covered under PMJDY by gathering feedback on: (i) Is the account opened under PMJDY their first account, ii) Have the customers received RuPay card, iii) Is the Aadhaar number available and has it been linked to the PMJDY account.

    A team from MicroSave conducted random sampling of 20 percent of the SSA locations/ BMs or 30, whichever was higher, covering each of the surveyed districts (9 states, 41 districts). Additionally, minimum of  five beneficiaries were interviewed at each BM/SSA location. The total sample covered under the study was 2,039 BM locations and 8,789 beneficiaries. The data/ information was collected with the help of survey tools devised by MicroSave.

    In addition to the above, MicroSave staff conducted random qualitative interviews of up to 10 BMs in each district and gathered feedback from up to 5 beneficiaries at each BM location to understand the “how” and “why” behind the numbers and field level implementation issues under PMJDY. MicroSave staff also monitored the entire survey and conducted random quality checks on the data collected by the survey agency. Based on the findings, recommendations were provided to improve the overall impact of the scheme.

  • Recruitment and Training of Mobile Money-Agents for Wholesale and Retail Sector of Nigeria

    The Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) programme sought to improve income and employment opportunities within Nigeria’s wholesale and retail sector, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable. The project aimed to create and sustain 10,000 full time equivalent jobs and increase incomes for 500,000 people. The project also worked with business associations, service providers, producers, retailers, wholesalers and other actors involved in the market, linking them so they work together and serve each other better. Additionally, the project also built local capacity and changing market incentives so the sector better meets the long-term needs of the poor, including women across Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Cross river states.
    MicroSave was contracted by Coffey International to work with mobile money operators who were to be part of a pilot test designed to deliver mobile financial services to traders within the wholesale and retail sector, specifically considering horticultural products and fast moving consumer goods. Through customer-based research, MicroSave designed and developed training courses for delivery by the mobile money operators in the project. We further advised on adopting a cost effective model for training provision and the rollout of this training. Metrics for monitoring agents were also provided.
    MicroSave worked on the following activities:

    • Market research with horticulture and FMCG traders, mobile money agents, and mobile money providers in Lagos and Kaduna State.
    • Development of appropriate agency training guidelines
    • Development of a training curriculum
    • Research on and development of cost sharing approaches
    • Development of agency monitoring metrics

  • Branchless Banking in Papua New Guinea

    Nationwide Microbank Ltd. (NMB), one of PNG’s largest licensed financial institutions, wanted to introduce mobile banking services and extend its outreach. MicroSave’s contributions to this initiative included: identifying and negotiating with mobile partners, researching PNG customer needs, working with PNG regulators, developing key processes for mobile banking operations, and managing the training for the agent network. We also conducted pilot test planning and pilot test review, risk analysis, and audit and risk-management systems.

  • Product Design in Colombia

    MicroSave worked with one of the largest commercial banks in Latin America as part of the GAFIS (Gateway Financial Innovations for Savings) programme. Our responsibilities included: building in-house expertise in prototyping and qualitative research; building in-house expertise in qualitative market research and product design; conducting research and developing a product and channel concept; and testing and refining this concept for a product prototype and pilot testing. We also assessed the bank’s agent network and submitted plans for further development.

  • Mobile Banking Technology/Agent Networks in India

    Eko India Financial Services is an interesting combination of technology provider for a live mobile banking and internal remittance service—and also a business correspondent (agent network manager) for State Bank of India and ICICI Bank. MicroSave’s ongoing contributions to Eko include agent and customer satisfaction analysis, marketing strategy and promotion support, competition landscaping,  risk assessment, and training.

  • Agent-Based Banking in Kenya

    MicroSave is currently working with Equity Bank, one of Kenya’s largest financial-services providers, on a substantial re-engineering project to improve how clients and agents work together through Equity’s e/m-banking channels. Better agent management, better savings and credit products, better training, and more consistent customer-service procedures and problem resolution are all important and only part of MicroSave’s long-term involvement and commitment in this project.

  • Product Innovation in India

    MicroSave is actively involved in implementing one of the largest Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s financial services programmes in India. The programme’s focus is digital financial channels for improved financial inclusion. Since 2008, MicroSave’s contributions to digital financial inclusion in India have included:

    • doing customer research to assess financial needs, perceptions, and aspirations of clients;
    • working with telcos, banks and agent network managers to improve agent management systems and processes;
    • developing business cases and value propositions;  
    • creating strategy and product development plans; and
    • conducting operations analysis for banks and business correspondents.