All Publications


Digital Finance’s Little Secret... (Agent Networks)

The wide reach of digital financial services can unlock life-changing opportunities for low-income consumers. But here’s a little secret about these digital services: their current ability to attract and serve new users largely depends on the expansion of old-fashioned physical interaction through agent networks, which is crucial in cash economies. In this episode, we explore the latest advances in agent networks and what they mean for the future of inclusive finance. 
Reading Deck

The Promise of Fintech for Micro and Small Enterprises

Nearly 500 million micro and small enterprises (MSEs) are estimated to be operating around the world. Access to credit and other financial services is critical to the growth and sustainability of these businesses, and consequentially to the low-income and vulnerable populations which rely on MSEs for their livelihoods. Yet despite decades of efforts and some notable successes in expanding MSE finance, the credit gap remains an estimated 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars.

Building Blocks of a Modern G2P Architecture

G2P systems seldom fulfill their potential because they underutilize the capabilities of digital payments systems. As a result, recipients are prevented from exercising choice over the account or withdrawal points that are used. This results in a poor experience for beneficiaries, reduces the financial inclusion potential, and can lead to costly and inefficient systems that are unfit for purpose.

Reading Deck

Agent Networks ​at the Last Mile: Implications for Financial​ Service Providers

Rural agent networks are critical to “last mile” financial inclusion. This reading deck for Financial Services Providers (FSPs) shows: (i) how rural Cash-in/Cash-Out (CICO) agent network expansion leads to increased customer value and sustained market growth; (ii) the barriers FSPs face to expand rural CICO networks; and (iii) successful new practices carried out in different markets that address barriers and result in improved rural CICO reach and quality. 

Reading Deck

Agent Networks at the Last Mile​: Implications for Financial Regulators

Rural agent networks are critical to “last mile” financial inclusion. This reading deck for regulators does three things: (i) it shows how expanding rural Cash-in/Cash-out (CICO) agent networks is key to ensuring more inclusive digital financial systems; (ii) it illustrates industry innovations that are making rural CICO more viable; and (iii) it presents a set of regulatory considerations that can enable such innovations within a stable financial system. 

Reading Deck

Agent Networks​ at the Last Mile​: Implications for Policy Makers

Rural agent networks are critical to “last mile” financial inclusion. This reading deck for policy makers does two things: (i) it shows how rural Cash-in/Cash-out (CICO) agent network expansion is key to ensuring poor people can capture the benefits of digital financial ecosystems; and (ii) it presents a set of policies that have been effective in enabling rural CICO in a way that benefits vulnerable segments, like rural women, and that reinforces the effectiveness of social programs targeting these segments. 


Developing Rural Agent Networks: Emerging Guidance for Funders

Funders are uniquely positioned to help expand rural Cash-in / Cash-out (CICO) agent networks by leveraging their financial resources, technical knowledge and convening power to align the incentives and build capacity of market actors, so that they design and implement self-sustaining solutions.
Reading Deck

Banking-as-a-Service: How it Can Catalyze Financial Inclusion

Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) is an entirely new business model that enables non-banks to offer banking services under their own brand and seamlessly embedded into their digital offering. By enabling the embedding of financial services into almost any digital context, BaaS may augur a profound evolution of the financial sector of which we are only seeing the early stages.


Banking in Layers: Five Cases to Illustrate How the Market Structure for Financial Services is Evolving

Exploring the market-level modularization of financial services through case studies featuring new models that are emerging, how they are coming about, and what they mean for the financial inclusion of low-income people in emerging markets and developing economies.

No Small Business: A Segmented Approach to Better Finance for Micro and Small Enterprises

This paper is based on primary research conducted with 383 micro and small enterrpises (MSEs) in India, Kenya, and Peru – three diverse emerging markets with a vibrant MSE finance ecosystem that includes strong incumbent providers like microfinance institutions, cooperatives, and banks, as well as innovative new providers like fintechs.