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 reasons for the transfers vary greatly from salaries and pensions to cash-for-work and emergency relief payments. But the motivations are often the same: reducing cost, tackling leakage, increasing beneficiary convenience and, increasingly, promoting financial inclusion.
CGAP has already highlighted in a Focus Note the potential for increasing financial inclusion among low income households by channeling funds through financially-inclusive accounts. Yet as the paper notes, in most countries far fewer than one-quarter of G2P payments to the poor land in accounts from which beneficiaries can save and transact.
Over the next few weeks we will present a series of blog posts based on interviews with branchless banking implementers and advisers from around the world to understand the challenges they are facing in delivering payments to beneficiaries in a financially-inclusive way, sometimes in very remote and hard to reach areas.
Our first post will look at the distribution of flood relief benefits in Pakistan. Branchless banking has started to take off in Pakistan over the last year and one service, UBL Omni, is now providing payment services for a number of different schemes using several different technologies. We commissioned this case study by Bankable Frontier Associates to present the UBL story.
After this initial post, we will highlight other innovative schemes in the Philippines, Colombia, Kenya and another initiative in Pakistan. If you know of an initiative that is using technology in exciting ways to make payments to large numbers of poor people, especially if it is also giving them a way to save and transact, let us know by posting a comment here or on our LinkedIn Group.
- Chris Bold