women stand outside their rickshaws Photo by Nikhil Kapur

Gig Platforms and Financial Inclusion

Across emerging markets, millions of informal workers are joining gig platforms in sectors like ride-hailing and deliveries. Amidst welcome scrutiny towards fair and sustainable gig work, this growth trajectory will continue as informal work is increasingly digitally mediated and gig platforms become a significant source of income for low-income segments globally.  

Workers joining platforms in emerging markets like India, Kenya and Indonesia are often taking their first steps into a digitized, formal work identity. They get paid into digital accounts and generate reams of data on the quantity, regularity, and quality of their work. But most workers are financially excluded so offering them financial services via platform can help solve long-sustaining challenges in financial inclusion. In all, the rise of digitally intermediated work is a unique opportunity for the financial inclusion of informal workers.  

CGAP’s 3-year engagement with platforms and fintechs and direct research with gig workers offers a glimpse into what the future could look like.  

“If we connect our workers with financial services that they think are valuable, then they keep seeing value in our platform. And every such opportunity then contributes to their retention on our platform.”

Melina Cruz, Founder of Homely, a platform focusing on domestic cleaners in Mexico

Can gig platforms enable financial inclusion?

CGAP supported five pilots to offer financial services to platform workers to understand the potential of the platform ecosystem to make financial inclusion for this segment more effective, viable, and impactful. These experiences create a picture of how platform rails are being leveraged to design, target, and offer innovative financial services for workers. The set of three briefs presented here offer a guide to platforms, FSPs, and fintechs worldwide seeking to understand how to embed financial services for platform workers and the state of innovation today.

“The drivers for us literally drive our company and push the ecosystem forward. And so, if they are doing well, if we can positively impact their livelihoods, economic well-being, and stability, that is a good thing for the ecosystem. It creates a healthier, more stable, more sustainable ecosystem, and brings value to the company as well.”

Tanah Sullivan, Head of Sustainability for GoTo, a super-platform offering rides and ecommerce in Indonesia


How can development funders support platform-based financial inclusion?

Development funders have an important role to play in encouraging and scaling innovation in platform-based financial services. Our experience suggests that progress may not happen without broader support from global stakeholders, since few governments and platforms fully understand opportunities latent in digital work and the need to build, rather than endanger, the financial health of workers. More work can also be done to highlight and facilitate the impactful work of innovators finding new ways to provide these services. Finally, funders must foreground worker needs in their funding and investments.

"As a fintech, the opportunity is threefold. Platforms are a great channel to access workers with low acquisition costs. Second, the work data is a single game-changing factor for underwriting these workers. Third, being able to deduct our repayment from source during platform payouts allows us to secure our business model.”

Badal Malick, Co-founder of Karmalife, a fintech providing credit and other financial services to gig workers in India


Additional Resources


Platform Workers

A collection of videos featuring gig workers on different platforms sharing the importance and benefits of accessing additional financial services such as loans, savings, and insurance to ensure a secure future.


Financial Inclusion for Digital Platform Workers

Learn about platform workers and their financial services needs through the stories of platform workers, as captured in this collection of photos and videos.


CGAP partnered with fintechs and platforms across Sub-Saharan Africa to understand how they are using digital rails to offer savings products to low-income gig workers. Here, we share what we found.

The type of work that women do on gig platforms makes it harder to connect them to financial services that will translate their income into longer-term gains. We studied six platforms to understand why fintech innovation does not reach women workers.

India Stack, India’s robust DPI, supports a host of financial services products for harder-to-reach segments like gig workers – a good example for other countries that want to leverage digitization of work for financial inclusion of informal workers.
Blog Series

A diverse set of individuals and microenterprises generate their livelihoods through digital platforms, growing fast in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). In this blog series, CGAP unpacks its extensive research with platform workers, platforms, and financial


Speakers highlighted key findings from a CGAP publication on the demand for and supply of financial services for platform workers/sellers, based on detailed qualitative research in five countries.