Eko was the first company dedicated to a mobile phone-based basic savings account and payment service for the unbanked in India. Launched in 2007, Eko has carefully developed a mobile-based service usable on the most basic of handsets and continually revised and re-fashioned its approach.
In India, a single distributor for a company like Coca-Cola (or Airtel or Nestle) works with several hundred retailers who sell Coca-Cola’s products. The distributor is responsible for selecting retailers, managing inventory, picking up/delivering cash and managing paperwork (e.g., for SIM registrations). Is it feasible for a distributor to add mobile banking to the other products they sell?
As part of a new series of research on agents and mobile/branchless banking, this month we started a series of blog posts about recent field visits with some of India’s most prominent organizations that make use of agents.
A notable difference in the role of banking agents (also called Customer Service Providers or CSPs) in India compared to other countries is that the agents are responsible for customer acquisition in addition to processing transactions.
In keeping with this optimistic view of a still uncertain India venture, we conclude with three more positive items to highlight. Two reflect new changes by the government and one goes back to the fundamentals.