IFC's goal is to increase the reach and breadth of financial services to the world’s unbanked and underbanked on a massive scale, while simultaneously reducing the cost to serve by fostering and supporting innovative and sustainable financial services providers.
Advances in technology and the pace of innovation hold promise for solving some of the key challenges to achieving full financial inclusion. Artificial intelligence, automation, big data, distributed ledger technology, and machine learning are just a few examples of technology trends that are accelerating innovation in financial services. New entrants, such as mobile network operators (MNOs), payment service providers (PSPs), merchant aggregators, retailers, FinTech companies, neobanks and super platforms, are leveraging these technologies and altering the competitive landscape for financial services. At the same time, partnerships and new business models are shifting profits within the financial services value chain, and user-centered designs are offering more meaningful, attractive experiences for consumers (e.g., instant service delivery).
Disruptive technologies and new entrants are radically changing the financial services industry forcing traditional business models to adapt and transform the economics of delivery to benefit the un(der)served and marginalized communities. Digitalization presents tremendous opportunities and challenges and IFC actively champions and supports responsible, innovative solutions to reach the un(der)served at scale leveraging its network of 1000+ financial institution (FIs) clients to do so. The focus here is on ensuring these FIs have the ability to leverage technology to efficiently serve market segments too costly to reach with traditional brick and mortar banking in particular in IDA as well as fragile and conflict affected countries.
We support the introduction of disruptive technologies and drive market-wide digital transformation to increase competition and to demonstrate the necessity as well as the business case for: (a) serving new traditionally un(der) served segments; (b) developing new products; and, (c) reducing inefficiencies. We support financial institutions and financial service providers (new and existing) with capital and advisory services to assist those institutions to competitively and profitably serve the needs of clients. We create both competition and assists FIs to compete.
Since 2007 IFC has provided advice and invested in digital financial service providers. IFC’s engagement in the industry has followed the evolution of the industry:
The early years 2007 – 2010 saw a strong focus on mobile money & payments. As the industry grew there was a shift from payments to banking (2010-2014). Accordingly, IFC focused more on supporting the development of business strategies leveraging technology to enable financial services as well as optimizing distribution through agents. With the rapid evolution of the industry IFC’s support shifted to include risk management, product diversification beyond payments as well as improved consumer services. As technology evolves further and with the advent of increased computing technologies IFC is now also supporting (i) data analytics, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop a more targeted product offering for financially excluded and underserved; (ii) process digitization to make FSPs more efficient and enhance customer experience; and (iii) increased consumer protection both with regard to fair and transparent products offers and data protection.
IFC's Mobile Money Toolkit is a combination of both the best publicly available information and original content and newly created materials. It includes documents available from CGAP, USAID, the World Bank, GSMA, and other organizations that are doing research in the realm of mobile money. Each part contains a number of documents or tools, some specifically designed for this toolkit, others collected from the public domain.