Digital Finance Plus

"Lack of access to financial services is a significant barrier to many important services that contribute to development and social inclusion."

Digital Finance Plus aims to understand how digital finance can support innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in development, including:

The growth of digital finance is enabling new business models, financing schemes, and payment mechanisms that, when applied to the delivery of basic services, can help expand access to such services and improve the lives of low-income people. 

In the case of energy, for example, pay-as-you-go solar home systems are quickly changing this picture for many low-income households. Customers can finance a solar unit and make small payments on a recurring basis over the course of 12 or more months. Payments can be made by mobile money, and when a payment is made, the unit is automatically unlocked for an established period of time. The use of mobile money reduces the salesforce needed to collect payments and manually unlock systems. And what’s more, companies are now using this digital payment data to establish creditworthiness for other important financial services, such as education savings and loan products.

Tackling the world’s toughest development challenges and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals will require innovative solutions, underpinned by payments and financial services made possible and more effective through the use of digital finance. 

Topic Contact: Xavier Faz

Publications

18 January 2018
Despite their relatively recent emergence, PAYGo companies are rapidly approaching maturity. These businesses have the chance to reduce the energy poverty gap, drive financial inclusion, and improve the quality of life for millions of people.
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English (34 pages)
29 December 2017
This paper uses research and interviews with customers to understand the value they derive from PAYGo solar, why they decided to purchase it, how they were able to afford and pay for it, and whether they considered the product a “good deal” in the end.
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English (43 pages)

From Our Blog

Mother and child drawing water
13 February 2018
A pilot in Ghana is showing that the pay-as-you-go solar model can be adapted to change how water is delivered to poor customers.
Registered nurse vaccinates a child for polio in Beirut, Lebanon
12 December 2017
Digital finance is just beginning to realize its potential in the health care sector. Take a look at some early examples of how digital financial services are contributing to the goal of universal health coverage.