Pakistan is a fascinating case in the global geography of digital financial inclusion. The market is dynamic, thanks in large part to the work of the central bank and other regulators to create an enabling environment for deployments. Four products have launched since 2010 and another five are currently in the pilot phase or on the drawing board, according to this recent CGAP report. The market leaders, both of which debuted in 2010, are United Bank Limited’s Omni, and EasyPaisa, run by Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Microfinance Bank. A relatively extensive banking network also holds promise for facilitating liquidity management by agents – often a key bottleneck to smoothly-running cash-in/cash-out (CICO) networks.
From a demand-side point of view, Pakistan features two key attributes for robust m-money uptake: broad-based mobile phone coverage and use, and a high percentage of the population who is currently unbanked. This came through in data from the Financial Inclusion Tracker Survey (FITS) of Pakistan conducted during May-September 2012, portions of which have just been loaded onto InterMedia’s Mobile Money Data Center. Users can see and analyze results from the Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda FITS, with results displayed in tabular, graphic and map-based formats. (FITS data from Tanzania and Uganda is highlighted in this blog post by InterMedia’s Michelle Kaffenberger and CGAP’s Claudia McKay).
The Pakistan FITS data is based on interviews with heads of 4,940 households in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and North West Frontier provinces, which together include 95% of the country’s households. [Continue reading...]