Nepal is a newcomer to the digital nancial services (DFS) space, with most e orts being small scale with branchless banking deployments. Most banks simply lack a long-term vision to create alternate distribution channels to reach the ‘last mile,’ and a large portion of their e orts to date have been driven by interventions from development agencies. Nepal’s economy has been a ected signi cantly by the earthquake of April 2015 as well as the political unrest that occurred during most of the second half of 2015.
Immediately after the 2015 earthquake, the Government expressed interest in digital payments for reconstruction grants. The Ministry of Federal A airs and Local Development has expressed its intention to develop a xed pricing system for social security payments, based on geography and cost. The Ministry of Finance has formed a multi- stakeholder committee as part of its commitment to the Better Than Cash Alliance. At the same time, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB, Nepal’s central bank) dedicated a department to payments systems that recently released its by-laws on payments and settlements and called on institutions to apply for a licence. This action opens the door to non-banks (i.e., mobile network operators [MNOs], money transfer operators) to operate wallet services in the market. There is tremendous opportunity in Nepal linked to remittances as a gateway to nancial inclusion that remains untapped.