Offering basic financial services through mobile phones, point-of-sale devices, and networks of small-scale agents, digital financial services (DFS) have the potential to reach more people, at a lower cost, and with greater convenience than traditional “brick and mortar” banking services.
With the rapid global expansion of mobile technology, mobile banking and other digital financial services are helping vast numbers of previously excluded people access financial services. Mobile network operators, governments, and financial institutions, ranging from large commercial banks to microfinance institutions, recognize and have begun to leverage the potential of DFS. A number of governments and their central banks have also embarked on “cash-lite” policies to reduce the use, and therefore cost, of cash in their economies.
DFS models are being tested with varying degrees of success around the world. Safaricom's M-PESA in Kenya is probably the best known and most successful example of mobile banking. Its vast success sparked a wave of start-ups and partnerships that use the service to provide Kenyans other valuable services, such as utility payments, savings accounts, and microinsurance.
Researchers are studying successes and failures of digital financial services to understand the market forces, business models, and ecosystem requirements to support successful DFS deployments elsewhere around the world.
What can you find in this Topic Hub?
Curated by FinDev editors, this Topic Hub offers you access to key resources contributed by organizations around the world who work on the topic of digital financial services for financial inclusion. Our latest blogs and publications on this topic are featured here (in the Resources Tab above), and you can find a collection of papers, case studies and guides to explore further. When there are upcoming webinars, events and recent news on this topic, they will be featured in the Topic Hub as well, so make sure to come back regularly for the latest on this topic. Finally, we’ve selected some key additional resources, which are listed on the right here, where you can learn even more about this topic.
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Innovations around agent networks present an opportunity to significantly improve women’s experiences and help build their confidence and access to digital financial services.
Lessons from traditional small-scale shopkeepers in Mexico on finding incentives beyond business education and cash provision
This case study explores whether the use of DFS can be used to accelerate women’s financial inclusion and reduce gender inequality in sectors other than financial service - health, agriculture and MSME.
This edition of the Global Findex database contains updated indicators on access to and use of formal and informal financial services and digital payments, and offers insights into the behaviors that enable financial resilience.
This study examines Women's Micro Bank Limited and UNCDF's design of a branchless banking solution, the Mama Bank Access Point initiative, which serves unbanked women in rural Papua New Guinea.
The Cyber Resilience Toolkit provides a guide to strengthening cybersecurity and effectively handling cyber incidents for financial service providers.
News & Events
The latest news and upcoming events and training from the global financial inclusion community on this topic.