MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: UN Digital Financial Services Toolkits; 7th IMF Financial Access Survey; IFC, The MasterCard Foundation Mobile Money Handbook

“How to Succeed in Your Digital Journey: a Series of Toolkits for Financial Service Providers”; Published by the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s MicroLead Program; October 2016; available upon request via: https://uncdf.wufoo.com/forms/q4pnwh31pqtp7r/

This first portion of a six-part digital toolkit, which is available in English and French, was designed to benefit microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other financial services providers that aim to offer digital financial services to unbanked populations residing in remote locations. In addition to guidance materials and case studies, it “includes an action plan, a budget template, a list of key performance indicators to track, a risk mapping exercise [and] a self-assessment grid”[1]. The remaining parts of the series are scheduled for publication by the end of March 2017.

“2016 Financial Access Survey”; published by the International Monetary Fund; October 2016; available at: http://data.imf.org/?sk=E5DCAB7E-A5CA-4892-A6EA-598B5463A34C/

The International Monetary Fund recently released its seventh Financial Access Survey (FAS), which is based on data from “traditional financial service providers;” other deposit-taking institutions; microlenders; and digital financial service providers from 189 countries from 2004 through 2015.

The FAS data indicate that digital financial services have expanded generally, but take-up rates differ by region. In countries where mobile money providers have been present for a number of years, take-up rates are higher. In countries that are late adopters of digital financial products, usage rates are lower, but usage has been growing about 2 percent per year in these countries. The authors expect this growth to continue at a similar rate.

“Digital Financial Services and Risk Management Handbook”; by Lesley Denyes and Susie Lonie; published by the International Finance Corporation and The MasterCard Foundation; September 2016; 116 pages; available at: http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/06c7896a-47e1-40af-8213-af7f2672e68b/Digital+Financial+Services+and+Risk+Management+Handbook.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

The aim of this document is to promote the uptake of digital financial products and agent banking, which involves banks contracting with individuals, retailers or other organizations to provide services outside of their branch network. The authors point out that digital financial services present new types of risks that must be tackled for financial inclusion strategies to be successful.

The first part of the handbook presents a risk management framework for digital financial services. The second chapter includes descriptions and examples of new risk types. The third section offers suggestions for the implementation of the risk management and risk monitoring strategy. The closing offers insights into practical experiences and predictions for the future of digital financial services.

By Alíz Crowley, Research Associate

Sources and Additional Information:

[1] UNCDF: UNCDF releases its 1st Digital Financial Services Toolkit

[2] MicroLead: Who We Are

[3] UNCDF: MicroLead Toolkit for Financial Service Providers

[4] MicroCapital Universe Profile: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

[5] MicroCapital Universe Profile: The MasterCard Foundation

[6] IMF: IMF Releases the 2016 Financial Access Survey, A Key Tool to Foster Financial Inclusion

[7] IMF: Financial Access Survey (FAS)

[8] MicroCapital Universe Profile: International Monetary Fund

[9] IFC: IFC, The MasterCard Foundation to Enable Financial Inclusion in Developing Countries through New Mobile Money Handbook

[10] IFC, The MasterCard Foundation: The Digital Financial Services and Risk Management Handbook

[11]MicroCapital Universe Profile: International Finance Corporation

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