UPU reveals pathways to inclusive & expansive digital financial services

An interactive session held on the sidelines of the 27th Congress highlighted the findings of a new study on promoting innovations on postal financial services.

Opening the session, UPU Financial Inclusion Manager Saleh Khan noted the important role posts could play in national development dialogues as trusted providers of secure, modern and expansive financial services.

“We recognize the need for Posts to offer customer-centric, inclusive postal financial services to remain relevant in society and to customers,” he said.

He explained that the new study, conducted with MicroSave Consulting, drew upon inputs from mobile network operators and fintechs, posts, regulators, funders, digital financial services agents and think tanks to provide policymakers and posts with a concrete set of recommendations for digital financial services innovations.

In presenting an overview of the study’s key findings, MicroSave Consulting Senior Manager for Private Sector Development Justus Njeru reassured participants that posts have a competitive advantage in the digital financial services sphere due to their large client base, trust, expansive physical network and experience.

“If we can build on [these factors], then the Post would be able to give a broader range of citizen-centric services to its customers,” he added.

Mr. Njeru noted that posts should be focusing on developing their credit, savings, investment and protection services as customers are now interested in more than money transfer and bill payment services.

In addition to reviewing highlights of the study, the session also invited inputs from postal and private sector experts.

Egypt Post’s General Manger of Quality Control, Nermin Hassan, shared the Post’s own success story on increasing financial inclusion through innovations in postal digital financial services. She noted that the Post now holds more than 25 million savings accounts and provides the most extensive domestic money transfer network in the country. The Post released its first mobile app in 2019 in response to the increasing use of mobile wallets – now numbering 16 million across the country. It is now operating a sought-after micro-finance portal connecting customers with loan providers. The Post’s goal is “not to leave anyone behind,” she said.

Speaking on the upcoming mega-trends, Amina Tirana, an Equity and Inclusion Fellow with Visa’s Economic Empowerment Institute, highlighted contactless payments, mobile direct payments, seamless payments, and cryptocurrencies. However, she noted that integration, interoperability and security should be considered prerequisites to developing these services.

MicroSave Consulting Digital Financial Services Specialist Juliet Ongwae recommended posts harness the Big Data available to them to keep their sights on changing customer needs and desires.

The full study conducted by the UPU’s Financial Inclusion Programme will be released in September.​

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