Digital platforms are growing globally and transforming the nature of work. In emerging markets, many low-income workers and entrepreneurs are incorporating platform work into their livelihood strategies. Platform workers offer a wide range of services, from delivery to personal and home services. Platform sellers offer a wide range of goods, both on e-commerce platforms and via social media through “informal online commerce.”
CGAP’s research shows that these workers and sellers could benefit from greater access to financial services and that platforms may offer an effective channel for distributing these services. In the markets we have researched, platform workers tend to be digitally literate and have access to basic digital financial accounts. However, their lack of access to appropriate savings, credit, and insurance services can limit their ability to grow their platform income and use it to build assets and security for themselves and their families.
While a few platforms have experimented with offering financial services in partnership with fintechs and other financial services providers, this remains a largely unexplored area with the potential to deliver value for platforms, financial services providers, and low-income workers. CGAP is currently working with several platforms and their partners to pilot embedded financial solutions for platform workers.