DFS are not new. What is new is the focus on how to promote the use of DFS to improve financial inclusion. This RDT provides a framework for regulators to analyse their regulation regimes in order to identify barriers and/or remove gaps to DFS adoption and to promote financial inclusion.
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) est un programme international lancé par l’UNCDF en partenariat avec l’Agence suédoise de coopération internationale au développement (SIDA), l’Agence australienne pour le développement international (DFAT), la Fondation Bill & Melinda Gates et The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P apporte son soutien au développement de la finance digitale dans un groupe spécifique de pays parmi les moins avancés. A travers ce programme, UNCDF démontre qu’un soutien optimal au niveau financier, technique, institutionnel et réglementaire peut aider au développement d'un écosystème de la finance digitale robuste et accessible aux personnes à faibles revenus dans ces pays. Pour plus d'informations, rendez-vous sur https://mm4p.uncdf.org et suivez @UNCDFMM4P and Mobile Money for The Poor
Dans les pays en développement, moins d'1 personne sur 5 a accès aux banques et encore moins utilisent régulièrement un compte.
L’UNCDF est l’Agence d’investissement des Nations unies pour les 48 pays les moins avancés du monde (PMA). Dans le cadre de son mandat de fourniture de capitaux et d’instruments d’investissement, l’UNCDF offre des modèles de financement du « last mile » permettant de débloquer les ressources publiques et privées, notamment au niveau national, afin de réduire la pauvreté et d’encourager le développement économique local. L’UNCDF s’appuie sur deux modèles de financement : l’inclusion financière, axée sur l’épargne, qui permet aux individus, aux ménages et aux petites entreprises de participer davantage à l’économie locale, en mettant à leur disposition les outils dont ils ont besoin pour sortir de la pauvreté et gérer leur situation financière ; et les investissements localisés – grâce à la décentralisation fiscale, au financement municipal novateur et au financement structuré de projets –, qui contribuent au financement public et privé sous-tendant la croissance économique locale et le développement durable. En renforçant l’accessibilité financière des personnes pauvres au niveau des ménages, des petites entreprises et des infrastructures locales, l’UNCDF contribue à la réalisation du premier objectif de développement durable, et le 17e objectif de développement durable, relatif au renforcement des moyens de mise en oeuvre. En identifiant les segments de marché dans lesquels les modèles de financement novateurs peuvent foncièrement faciliter le financement du « last mile », l’UNCDF contribue à la réalisation de plusieurs objectifs de développement durable.
Ideation session #1 - Digging deeper into bulk payments transactions for uptake and usage by women
Ideation session #2 - Improving agent networks with and for women
Ideation session #3 - Creating or improving financial services for women acquisition
Inspiring session - Digital solutions for a better life
Presentation by Optimetriks
Break-out session #1 – Tapping into the 51%: Understanding the barriers and serving the needs of women
Break-out session #2 – Women as agents: What is special about them?
Break-out session #3 – Exploring the potential of high-volume payments for women
Creating an enabling environment for mobile money in Liberia
With approximately 3.4 bank branches for every 100,000 adults, Liberia is among the countries with the lowest banking penetration in the world. This penetration is set to shrink even further as commercial banks reduce their presence in the country due to severe infrastructural challenges that make traditional banking unsustainable outside the country’s capital Monrovia. Banks also face challenges linked to the aftermath of the Ebola epidemic and falling global commodity prices that have ravaged Liberia’s already fragile economy.
UNCDF’s MM4P programme has been assisting the Liberian government’s efforts to increase access to formal financial services since 2014. Just before the Ebola crisis in 2015, it partnered with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the GSMA to develop mobile money guidelines to enable the proliferation of mobile money services. UNCDF’s activities, as many other development initiatives, were stalled during the Ebola crisis and shifted to support the fight against Ebola. In May 2016, UNCDF re-initiated its activities by placing a fulltime DFS expert to implement its ecosystem approach to accelerate the development of Liberia’s digital financial services (DFS). UNCDF’s goal is for at least 10% of the adult population to actively use DFS by end of 2019 (from the current level of approximately 3%).
Starting with policy and regulatory support to the CBL and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MoFDP), MM4P’s initiatives have encouraged the government to become a member of the Better Than Cash Alliance. With its Alliance membership, Liberia endorses the guiding principles of the alliance and commits to the full transition of government salaries from cash to digital payments.
With CBL, MM4P established the first DFS Working Group. As Mr. Milton A. Weeks, Executive Governor CBL, stated in his opening remarks at the inaugural session on 20th September, 2016
“… we as regulator(s) seek to learn from the policy and regulatory approaches that have been successfully tested and implemented in other countries. The DFS Working Group therefore will actively support these peer-to-peer learning efforts and provides an ideal platform for exchanging knowledge and experiences”
The event drew over 40 participants from the industry. Private and public sector as well as the donor community initiated a dialogue on working collectively. Speaking at the event, Mr. Anthony Chan the USAID Liberia Mission Director underlined the importance of MM4P’s interventions and said;
“We are aligned with UNCDF and other development partners on achieving the financial inclusion goals set by the central bank governor. The Working group is crucial to achieving these goals because it will promote the use of the central bank’s new payment systems infrastructure to bridge the digital divide”
MM4P engages directly with providers through technical assistance on projects, trainings and exposure visits to expand and improve their digital financial services in the market. One of these technical assistance project brought together MTN Lonestar and BRAC - the largest MM and Microfinance providers in Liberia - to pilot the first mobile loan collection service in the country. The uptake of the service is steadily growing with more than 100 loan repayments being made during the first few months of the pilot. Mr. Tapan Kumar Karmaker, Managing Director, BRAC Microfinance Liberia & Sierra Leone acknowledged MM4P’s support in launching the pilot by stating
“BRAC Liberia recognize the outstanding contribution MM4P provided in conducting the survey on the mobile money pilot launched for collection of small loan from micro-entrepreneur"
MM4P is also assisting MTN Lonestar in expanding and improving the management of its agent network to isolated rural communities and capture high-volume transaction streams by facilitating access to industry best practices and technical assistance. Sharing feedback on MM4P’s assistance, Ms. Massa Dennis, Head of Mobile Money at Lonestar Cell MTN said
‘UNCDF has provided tremendous support to the growth and expansion of Mobile Money in Liberia. Through the technical assistance of MM4P, we have been able to sign on some major bulk payments deals, most notably, the civil servants payments with five key ministries set to kick off in Q1 2017. We will be launching the “MoMo Market Women” Initiative in January 2017 which was an outcome of the DFS4Women conference I attended in October 2016 organized by UNCDF.’
These achievements are a testament of the potential of DFS in Liberia and the appetite for such innovations by providers in the country. MM4P hopes to build on these achievements in the coming years. The programme aims to promote Human- Centered Design (HCD) principles for addressing the unique financial needs of Liberia’s poor and rural communities. MM4P also hopes to support the development of next-generation pay-as-you-go products (PAYG), including solar electricity, to help Liberians overcome critical infrastructure gaps. DFS and technology driven solutions can also play a huge role in helping tackle health and education challenges that plague the progress and stability in Liberia.
Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) is a programme launched by UNCDF in partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P provides support to digital financial services (DFS) in a selected group of least development countries (LDCs) to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust DFS ecosystem that reaches low income people in LDCs.
UNCDF is the UN’s capital investment agency for the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs). With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. This last mile is where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave people excluded.
“The DFS Working Group therefore will actively support these peer-to-peer learning efforts and provides an ideal platform for exchanging knowledge and experiences” - CBL Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks
Product design tools to boost customer uptake: Human-centered design and iteration in digital financial services in Zambia
Understanding your customer is the key to any successful marketing venture. However, too often, products are designed with little knowledge of end users. In this blog post we describe how human-centered design and iterative testing can support DFS providers in their efforts to improve customer experience and develop products and services that are aligned with customers’ needs.
A wooden cane rattled on the grilled window of the mobile money booth. Elina, the teller, completes her transaction with the customer in front of her and then turns to the old man standing at the side window.
Oh…she thought, it's the blind beggar. He often lingers around the booth, asking people for spare change, usually with two children in tow. But today is different. Today he has something to offer.
"Can I deposit some money into my account?" he asks.
Surprised, Elina begins the process on her mobile phone. "Of course sir, how much would you like to deposit?"
"5 Zambian Kwacha." The equivalent of USD 50 cents.
As she begins to process the transaction, she feels a mixture of pride and shame. Shame, to have cynically assumed that this man had dropped by to be a nuisance. Pride, to be part of launching a new digital financial service in Zambia called SUNGA. This new service launched by Zoona is an account where customers can keep their money safe. SUNGA is accessible to all, including this man, a man who lives on the side of the road, a man who despite his meager means manages to scrape together a few coins each day to save.
This is what financial inclusion is about. Where else would such a customer keep his money? Certainly not at the bank whose account conditions would not allow his entry.
Even though this man is among the two billion unbanked people worldwide, who every day, keep their change in a box, in a pouch, or under the mattress; few financial institutions would consider him a potential customer. However, in many countries, like Zambia, things are changing – and the question to ask now is how can DFS providers design products and services that truly meet the needs and aspirations of all customers and in particular those of the poor and financially excluded?
In Zambia, to broaden the access to digital financial services, UNCDF has chosen to invest in innovation by working with partners such as Zoona, a mobile money provider, and 17 Triggers, a firm that uses human-centered design (HCD) to create new solutions and improve customer experience. The tri-partnership sought to improve the “keep account” SUNGA, by working to better understand customer needs using HCD methods and iteratively testing solutions with real customers in the context of their daily lives.
HOW TO GET TO KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS BETTER?
From 17 Triggers point of view, the process of understanding the customers better begins by working together with the product stakeholders (in this case, Zoona, and UNCDF) to determine who we want to target and what we want them to do. Together, we developed a Target Persona ‒ a character that represents the customer we are trying to reach. We draw this persona on a large piece of paper and try to come up with concrete contextual information about them i.e. their age, living conditions, income level, their spending and savings needs.
Drawing is critical to this process because it often reveals insights that are otherwise overlooked, such as something that influences the customer or what they might be saving money for. To validate assumptions, this persona exercise is completed by a reality check interview with real customers. We have found that using the personas makes it easier for customers to be more open and honest about their habits and capabilities, particularly when discussing sensitive issues such as money.
In Zambia, target personas helped us uncover the fact that some women have secret hiding places for their cash, to prevent their husbands from misappropriating such funds. This information helped us refine our messaging to encourage users to create what we called a “keep account” to enable them “prepare for the unexpected.”
Returning to the homeless man in our story, we have found that it is valuable to also interview customers whom we refer to as Extreme Users—people who do not quite fall into your usual target group. In the case of mobile money, it might be a truck driver who cannot drive into town to access the bank, an old woman whose poor eyesight and low literacy makes the use of mobile money seem intimidating, or the homeless man who does not have a regular income. These are people with financial needs as well, and if we eliminate obstacles that financially exclude Extreme Users, our products suddenly become relevant to a much wider pool of people.
In Zambia, Extreme Users helped us think outside the box and consider how to create more meaningful products that customers could easily connect with. Why not a keypad with giant buttons so that old women can actually see the PIN they are typing in? Or the ability to deposit small amounts of money so that men are not tempted to drink their savings away? To be able to deposit even small change into an account – that’s a big deal for many people.
Addressing these specific needs helps focus on the “services for what purpose” question, that makes financial services actually address the client needs – which is one of the major barriers to the advancement of financial inclusion in Zambia.
OUR TARGET PERSONA’S JOURNEY
Once we understand our target persona needs and behaviors, we walk through their customer journey. What is it like to hear about, access and use the product provided?
Using small white squares of paper to draw each step, we visualize how the customer might learn about, sign up for and use the product. Visualizing allows us to make the experience concrete and detailed. In this way, we can pinpoint precisely where there might be a barrier to entry, or where the product or service might ‘break’. We call these ‘headache’ points.
As 17 Triggers helped us draw the Zoona customer journey, we discovered how big of a headache the process of registration and choosing a password was. This prompted us to brainstorm ways to simplify the process for both tellers and customers. Visualizing also helped humanize the experience for software developers. It highlighted how what seemed like a small step to product developers, could actually be a really difficult step when viewed from the user’s perspective.
This is one of the most critical components of 17 Trigger’s “secret sauce” – their visualizers are able to become be fortune tellers in a sense. By visually depicting Zoona’s customers journey, their concerns, and successes, it engaged the stakeholders in a very interesting way that could otherwise be dull and not successful in getting the necessary feedback on these products.
The ultimate goal is to make the journey easier for our persona. And often, even small tweaks to a journey can open up a world of possibilities for users.
The coins exchanged hands, and Elina added the 5 Kwacha to her cash box. They made a soft clinking sound as they hit the metal. The man smiled — he might be blind, but his hearing did not fail him. Transaction completed, he lingered by the window for a while, his demeanor changed. It was as if by depositing his money, he had earned a right to be there as a legitimate customer, a contributing member of society.
"Just a little bit every day," he said. "At least then at the end of the year, I’ll have something to show for it."
"It is very good that you are keeping money, sir", she said in English. "Don't worry, we will keep it safe for you."
The man nodded, took his grandchild's hand and slowly walked towards the bus stop to get on with his day. Step by step, mobile money accounts, such as SUNGA, are helping to pave the way to financial inclusion.
MM4P is a programme launched by UNCDF in partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation. MM4P provides support to digital financial services (DFS) in a selected group of least developed countries (LDCs) to demonstrate how the correct mix of financial, technical and policy support can build a robust DFS ecosystem that reaches low-income people in LDCs. For more information, visit mm4p.uncdf.org, follow @UNCDFMM4P and check out Mobile Money for The Poor.
Despite ongoing improvements, Liberia’s infrastructure continues to pose challenges to the provision of financial services, including mobile money. Out of approximately 10,600 km of roads, only around 657.2 km are paved, creating problems for the Central Bank of Liberia and commercial banks distributing cash to branches across the country. In addition, Liberia’s limited electricity production capacity means that banks and mobile network operators incur significant operating costs due to the widespread use of generators.