Spanish

Se ha demostrado que en situaciones de emergencia la asistencia de dinero ayuda a los beneficiarios a mitigar las consecuencias económicas resultantes, por ejemplo, mediante el aumento de la seguridad alimentaria. Devolución del IVA, una nueva transferencia de dinero incondicional en Colombia, asistirá a 1 millón de hogares de bajos ingresos en atravesar la crisis económica a causa de la pandemia del COVID-19. A través de una evaluación aleatoria, los investigadores midieron los efectos de la transferencia en la salud física y mental de los beneficiarios, la seguridad alimentaria, la seguridad financiera y el aprendizaje de los niños, actitudes políticas, entre otros.

Type:
Brief
Date:
August 25, 2022
Spanish

La crisis desencadenada por el brote del COVID-19 trajo consigo un desafío fundamental para las redes de protección social: entregar beneficios rápidamente a aquellos hogares que más lo necesitan. En este documento presentamos los resultados de la evaluación de Ingreso Solidario en Colombia, un programa de transferencias monetaria no condicionadas dirigido a hogares pobres y vulnerables que no se beneficiaban de los programas preexistentes a la pandemia. La evaluación se realiza mediante el método de regresión discontinua en el que se comparan distintos indicadores de bienestar entre hogares elegibles y no elegibles alrededor del punto de corte que determina la elegibilidad, basado en un puntaje que aproxima el ingreso del hogar. Es decir, se enfoca en un subgrupo de hogares con ingresos relativamente más altos que los del beneficiario promedio del programa. Encontramos que Ingreso Solidario incrementó la probabilidad de que los hogares mantengan alguna fuente de ingreso y que no generó desincentivos a la participación en el mercado laboral. Encontramos también que Ingreso Solidario incrementó el gasto en educación de los hogares y la probabilidad de hacer gastos en artículos de limpieza. No encontramos evidencia de efectos sobre el consumo de alimentos en promedio, pero encontramos efectos heterogéneos basados en la severidad de las disrupciones laborales que afectaron a los hogares durante la pandemia: el programa incrementó el consumo de alimentos en los hogares que perdieron una mayor parte de ingresos. Finalmente, encontramos que el programa incentivó la apertura de nuevas cuentas bancarias e incrementó el uso de estas para realizar pagos, sugiriendo que el programa puede generar importantes efectos en inclusión financiera a largo plazo.

Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
August 24, 2022
Spanish

El presente estudio cualitativo explora las experiencias de usuarios de Ingreso Solidario en zonas urbanas, rurales y rurales dispersas con el objetivo de: (i) ampliar la comprensión acerca de la implementación de este programa e (ii) identificar los puntos de satisfacción y barreras sobre las modalidades de pago, especialmente a través de billeteras móviles. La información fue recolectada por medio de la técnica de grupos focales, los cuales permitieron obtener descripciones amplias, por medio de testimonios e interacciones de beneficiarios de distintos grupos etarios alrededor del programa. Los testimonios recolectados permitieron entender que: (i) las transferencias dadas por el Ingreso Solidario fueron un soporte importante para cubrir necesidades urgentes de los hogares; (ii) las redes comunitarias de vecinos, amigos y familiares desempeñaron un rol importante transmitiendo la información acerca de programa y la forma de retiro a las personas con menores habilidades tecnológicas, en especial a los adultos mayores que recibían las transferencias por billeteras móviles; (iii) el bajo desarrollo de la infraestructura bancaria en algunas zonas significa mayores dificultades para la adopción de las billeteras móviles; (iii) en un contexto en donde las habilidades tecnológicas y el desarrollo de la infraestructura bancaria no es homogéneo entre los beneficiarios de Ingreso Solidario, la combinación entre billeteras digitales y depósitos a través de puntos de pago supone un mecanismo efectivo para incluir a personas en distintos contextos.

Country:
Type:
Working Paper
Date:
August 24, 2022
Summary

Inclusive Instant Payment Systems (IIPS) streamline payments between individuals, merchants, and financial institutions. These systems create a more cash-like experience by adopting technology that allows clients with different financial service providers to send and receive money. IIPS enable real time and same-day settlement, are open loop and accessible, and facilitate high volume, low value transactions. Ultimately, they have the potential to catalyze financial inclusion and positively impact financial behavior. 

This white paper summarizes how interoperable payment systems work and the status of interoperability in emerging markets. The paper contributes to the global discourse around IIPS  by (1) showing how economic insights can help us form expectations around the potential impact of these systems, and (2) providing guidance on monitoring, evaluating, and generating evidence-based policies. The paper is organized as follows:

  1. Importance of interoperable payment systems;
  2. Theory of change for how these systems might impact the payments economy, consumers and merchants, economic efficiency, social welfare, and the broader macro-economy;
  3. Preliminary hypotheses on how these impacts will play out in practice;
  4. Review of key policy issues around IIPS and how economic insights can help to guide policy decision-making;
  5. Discussion of unique issues that may arise when undertaking data-driven research on these systems, and;
  6. Framework for monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) in the context of these systems, which organizations can adapt to their own evidence needs.
Authors:
Program area:
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
August 22, 2022
Download

In March of 2020, the Government of Colombia expanded existing social assistance programs to help shield households from the economic impact of lockdown orders associated with COVID-19. The programs included the launch of Compensación del IVA, an unconditional cash transfer (UCT), supported by value-added tax (VAT) revenue, designed to support Colombian households living in extreme poverty. This case study examines the government’s rapid deployment of the cash transfer payments via mobile wallets from March to April of 2020. The goal of deploying the funds digitally was to stem COVID-19 infections and distribute benefits quickly. However, beneficiaries faced technological challenges associated with the mobile wallet, and 23 percent of mobile money recipients reported delays or difficulties accessing the transfer (compared to 10 percent of cash recipients). Lessons from the Colombian government’s rapid deployment of digital payments and the consequences of the digitized UCT for beneficiaries have important implications for the digitization of emergency cash transfers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as future emergencies.

Country:
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
July 12, 2022
Download

The Consumer Protection Research Fund is open to all academic researchers and accepts proposals for randomized evaluations of consumer protection in digital financial services in lower and lower-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Applicants are invited to consult this Request for Proposals Overview document to better understand the policy motivation and research questions acceptable for consideration under this scheme.

This call for proposals has closed as of Friday, August 19, 2022. Thank you to all who submitted applications. Please contact us with any questions.

Program area:
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
July 11, 2022
Download

A large and growing segment of the Bangladesh population are digital financial service (DFS) users, yet little has been done to investigate the range and prevalence of consumer protection issues that occur with these services such as fraud, hidden fees, and ineffective complaints mechanisms. In other markets, evidence suggests some customer segments, for example, women and lower-income customers may experience these issues at higher rates than the population at large. To better understand the nature of risks in DFS in Bangladesh, IPA conducted a phone survey of DFS users in November 2021, the results of which are presented in this report.

This report finds that scams, overcharging, and poor customer care were the most common consumer protection challenges faced by digital financial service users, although these were all reported at lower levels than similar surveys in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. The report also reveals that consumers often do not report challenges through formal complaints channels, and when they do, most consumers report the issue was not resolved to their satisfaction. These issues highlight the need for new monitoring tools such as complaints data analysis and agent mystery shopping to detect and reduce these consumer protection challenges. Additionally, there is a need to design and test interventions that may encourage the use of formal redress channels—and measure their effects via impact evaluation studies. Consumer segmentation research will also bring more understanding to the dynamics of who reports and why they report in order to throw more light on any apparent discrepancies.

Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
June 14, 2022
Spanish

La evaluación de Ingreso Solidario demuestra la importancia del programa como herramienta de política pública para mitigar los choques de ingresos, laborales y alimentarios ocasionados por la pandemia del COVID-19 y reducir la caída en pobreza de los hogares vulnerables más golpeados por su presencia en Colombia.

Country:
Type:
Brief
Date:
May 24, 2022
Download

Formal financial inclusion remains low in Nigeria: just about three percent of adult Nigerians have borrowed from formal sources, and less than half (forty-five percent) have a formal account at either a bank or microfinance institution (EFInA Access to Finance Survey 2020). The most common reasons for not having a formal account are negative perception of formal institutions, little access to banks, or not having enough income to save. This suggests that the broader ecosystem of formal financial services is not conducive toward inclusion—either through low demand or poor provision of the right financial products. While both men and women lack access to formal financial services, especially credit, a “one-sized” approach is not appropriate to onboard all Nigerians.

This report finds that different segments of the population have their own financial preferences and behaviors. Younger women are more sophisticated with their credit than older women, and will therefore benefit from more complex, high-yield products. For older women, more effort is required to instill trust in financial institutions, as such they will benefit from approaches that they are familiar with face-to-face interactions, and services integrated within existing social networks.

There are currently over 100 million adult Nigerians that are potential clients for financial services, and this report provides valuable insights on their behaviors and financial preferences.

Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
May 19, 2022
Toolkit

The toolkit is aimed at addressing the opportunities and challenges of using digital credit transaction data for consumer protection market monitoring. Digital credit adoption has increased in lower- and middle-income countries over the past decade. These products have differentiated themselves from traditional lending in three primary ways; they are “instant, automated, and remote.” These differences may drive financial inclusion and benefits to borrowers including access to formal credit, reduced transaction costs, and resilience to risk. However, these same attributes may also place consumers at higher risk. In particular, because digital credit is easier to obtain, consumers may find themselves taking on loans they cannot afford or with fees they do not understand.

The increase of digital credit also presents researchers, regulators, and financial service providers with an opportunity to more easily monitor consumer protection outcomes. With the automation of these services, providers’ transaction records record everything from the time that loans were disbursed to what fees were charged.

The toolkit explains the reasons for consumer protection supervision, the advantages and limitations of administrative data for supervision, as well as organizational prerequisites for its use. From there, the toolkit outlines how digital credit transaction data can be analyzed to monitor consumer protection issues, presents data security issues associated with an information request and recommends tools for keeping data safe within this process, and provides a guide for obtaining data.

Program area:
Type:
Research Resource
Date:
March 26, 2022
Download

Digital government -to -person (G2P) payments have emerged as an efficient and safe way to disburse social assistance at scale as countries expand cash transfers to provide economic relief to households affected by COVID -19. The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), after experiencing delays and inefficiency during the first tranche of its COVID -19 Social Amelioration Program (SAP) with paper forms, manual processes, and physical cash delivery, moved quickly to digital cash transfers for the second tranche of SAP (SAP 2). It partnered with six financial service providers (FSPs) and provided cash transfers digitally to a significant share of 14 million SAP 2 beneficiaries.

This study, carried out by the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and the World Bank, in collaboration with DSWD, aims to understand beneficiaries’ experience in receiving digital G2P payments and identify key areas for further strengthening. The study is based on a survey conducted among sampled beneficiaries who received SAP 2 benefits through digital channels.

Learn more about this publication on the World Bank's website.

Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
March 17, 2022
Download

While digital financial services have evolved rapidly in Nigeria over the last decade, this growth is largely driven by the already banked population. A joint study by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Inclusion for All investigated three key barriers preventing many from joining the formal financial system: the reliability of financial services, the cost of using these services, and the limited transparency of cost information. The study found that: financial transactions conducted by phone fail often, service providers make it difficult and costly to find accurate pricing information (only 1 in 5 providers offer a toll-free customer care line), and the prices consumers pay can exceed caps set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The findings suggest providers can build trust and usage of these services by strengthening their infrastructure, improving access to accurate pricing information, and increasing compliance with existing price caps.

Country:
Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
February 16, 2022
Download

Over the past decade, predatory and fraudulent practices in digital finance and financial technology have increased globally. The use of mobile applications for such purposes is a concern given the increased ubiquity of mobile devices, ongoing concerns about low financial and digital literacy in many population groups, and anecdotal evidence on a proliferation of methods and tools some finance app providers use to exploit vulnerable households and businesses. In addition to the direct harm caused to consumers, this can lead to mistrust of digital finance, which can delay financial inclusion efforts and undermine the benefits of financial technologies.

The objective of this project is to explore whether high-frequency app data and applied machine learning techniques can be leveraged to create a system for flagging and reporting highly suspect apps. As a “proof of concept,” the researchers draw on historical app meta and review data for 63 countries covering from January 2020 to April 2021 to document the prevalence of such problematic apps and test the efficiency and accuracy of such methods. To keep the project tractable, the researchers focus on a targeted subset of personal loan apps. The pilot informs future experimentation with the approach and suggests possible real-world applications, which could help provide targeted shortlists of highly suspect individual apps, country- or global-level monitoring to understand prevalence of problematic apps at a given point in time, or be fed into buyer-beware labelling on the app stores.

Program area:
Type:
Report
Date:
February 10, 2022

Las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYME) representan una importante fuente de empleo en muchos países de ingresos bajos y medios. Por lo tanto, encontrar las medidas más efectivas para ayudar a las pymes a responder y recuperarse cuando se enfrentan a crisis económicas, como las provocadas por el COVID-19, es de gran relevancia en materia de políticas. En Colombia, los investigadores están evaluando el impacto económico de otorgar préstamos de estímulo a las pymes, distribuidos a través del programa de ayuda COVID-19 del gobierno ("Unidos por Colombia"), en la supervivencia, las ganancias y el empleo.

Country:
Type:
Brief
Date:
February 09, 2022
Download

While digital financial services have evolved rapidly in Nigeria over the last decade, this growth is largely driven by the already banked population. A joint study by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Inclusion for All investigated three key barriers preventing many from joining the formal financial system: the reliability of financial services, the cost of using these services, and the limited transparency of cost information. The study found that: financial transactions conducted by phone fail often, service providers make it difficult and costly to find accurate pricing information (only 1 in 5 providers offer a toll-free customer care line), and the prices consumers pay can exceed caps set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The findings suggest providers can build trust and usage of these services by strengthening their infrastructure, improving access to accurate pricing information, and increasing compliance with existing price caps.

Country:
Program area:
Type:
Brief
Date:
February 08, 2022

Pages