IFC's Global Innovative Retail Payments Program works to increase access to banking services through developing innovative and sustainable retail payments services as a point of entry for low income populations. The program supports the development of innovative and sustainable retail payment solutions using technologies such as mobile phones, EFTPOS and payment card infrastructure to deliver payment services at low cost to the base of the pyramid as well as other users. Implementation is in close cooperation with the World Bank Payment Systems Development Group (PSDG), to create the enabling environment that will help ensure the sustainability of payment services solutions.
With mobile payment initiatives, IFC ultimately targets underserved segments of the population. These low income populations have payment needs that are similar to other consumers. Evidence has shown that even very poor people save small amounts, send and receive money from relatives, pay bills and school fees, and borrow from suppliers and others to meet obligations or take advantage of financial opportunities even in the absence of bank access. To satisfy their needs, most low-income people end up using informal mechanisms that are often insecure, unsafe, inefficient, and more costly than necessary.
IFC's goal in this space is to increase the reach and breadth of financial services to the world’s un- and underbanked on a massive scale, while simultaneously reducing the cost to serve by fostering and supporting innovative and sustainable retail payments services as a point of entry.
IFC’s vision is to develop e-payments to e-banking, leveraging electronic payments to bring un- or underbanked people into the system thereafter expanding the service offering for them. IFC expects to support 15 projects globally to reach 40 million people in five years through a combination of large country interventions (projects in Nigeria, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Mexico, India) and smaller markets such as Rwanda, Laos, Nepal, Haiti, etc. IFC supports initiatives such as:
• Greenfield payment services providers
• Financial intermediaries that seek to develop mobile channels
• Recently launched ventures that are attempting to reach viable scale
• More established service providers that wish to extend their reach and expand product range
Contact information: Margarete Biallas, Global Product Leader, Innovative Retail Payments, IFC