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


11 October 2016
Innovations in digital finance can play a role in the Sustainable Development Goals' aim to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
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English (10 pages)
17 April 2016
This paper analyses the synergies in the distribution of energy and financial services. It describes how an integrated approach could enable financial institutions to profitably serve low-income populations, thus enabling a significant source of growth.
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English (30 pages)

From Our Blog

Graph: Paying for school
14 October 2016
The inability to pay fees and other education expenses keeps many children out of school. What is the extent of these challenges, who is affected and what kinds of financial services could help?
Mobile phone facilitates education payments
28 September 2016
For many low-income families worldwide, education can be out of reach. Mobile money and digital financial services have the potential to help families by providing them with better tools that can help them save, plan and make education payments.