Over the past several months, we have taken a close look at the branchless banking industry in a few key countries. We have presented our learning from Brazil, Mexico and India over the last few weeks. Today we continue with our analysis of Pakistan and share this summary note on the branchless banking industry.
This blog post summarizes a quick review of commercial investments in mobile financial services and branchless banking. We focused our review on equity deals between 2005 and 2010 involving mobile payment companies, agent companies, payment platforms and others providers that we knew were targeting the financially excluded in developing countries.
Within just a few weeks this past fall, United Bank Limited (UBL) in Pakistan was able to design, procure, and distribute over one million VISA debit cards to the flood-affected citizens of Pakistan following the devastating flood.
As branchless banking services reach the scale needed to be able to serve large segments of the population of a country, they are starting to strike partnerships with governments, businesses and not-for-profit organizations that need to make payments to large numbers of people.
The news wires have been busy with the recent announcement of partnerships and joint ventures in the Indian branchless banking market. India’s largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India, announced a joint venture with the mobile operator Bharti Airtel to offer mobile banking. Meanwhile, India’s largest private sector bank, ICICI Bank Ltd, announced its tie-up with Vodafone Essar to bank the unbanked via the mobile phone.
Safaricom’s M-Pesa is now so well known in the mobile banking world that it has come to be accepted by some as a blueprint for mobile financial services. The service relies on the phone in the hands of the customer (now more than 12 million) to perform transactions and the phone in the hands of the agent (all 20,000 of them) to credit and debit accounts.
This post on a recent report on Interoperability provides insights on why interoperability might be important, how we should think about it from a policy and market development perspective and how it should be measured, especially as it relates to financial inclusion.