Testing the Waters: Digital Payments for Water and Sanitation

Date Published: 
Mar 2019
Daniel Waldron, Caroline Frank, Akanksha Sharma & Alexander Sotiriou

Outlining the benefits of digital payments on water supply and sanitation sector

A growing number of water providers are experimenting with digital payments to reduce operational expenses and streamline service delivery. To better understand their experiences and what they may mean for other water providers in emerging markets, the authors looked at the experiences of 25 organizations across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This paper describes the research and highlights the lessons learned, including the benefits and the challenges these organizations encountered while digitizing their payments.

Benefits of digitizing payments include:

  • Digital payments reduce collection costs.
  • Digital payments increase revenue and enable new business models.
  • Digital payments also increase customer reach.

Obstacles to digitizing payments include:

  • Difficulty integrating mobile money providers.
  • Too few mobile money users.
  • Fees can deter customers.
  • Limited ability to analyze data.
  • Loss of jobs.