Digital Financial Services

In developing countries, 2.5 billion people are ‘unbanked’ and have to rely on cash or informal financial services which are typically unsafe, inconvenient and expensive. Several non-bank players have launched digital financial services that now serve millions of individuals and have a massive impact on financial inclusion. In a fast changing environment, Altai Consulting is advising mobile operators, digital players, international organizations and aid agencies to shape the future of the FinTech industry.

Altai Consulting offers a large range of research & strategy consulting services including: customer and market understanding (market and competitive intelligence, customer segmentation), strategic positioning (business modelling, partnership strategy, regulatory, risk management), road-to-market (product roadmap, liquidity management, commission & pricing strategy, agent network roll-out,) and experience look-up (customer experience program and retention).

Recent projects

Understanding Financial Inclusion in Tunisia

The objective of the assignment was to define meaningful indicators and collect in-depth data needed to support the development of public policies aimed at enhancing financial inclusion. A comprehensive demand-side survey was conducted to measure the penetration and use of financial services among 5,000 individuals and 800 micro-enterprises at the national and sub-national levels. Rigorous, objective and reliable data was collected from the field and allowed policymakers to be in a position to diagnose the state of financial inclusion in Tunisia, set appropriate targets, and craft policies to improve access to finance. The project was sponsored by the European Investment Bank and several partners (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, the European Union and ADA).

Wallet and OTC Transactions: Understanding financial incentives

Altai Consulting has been working with CGAP to provide data and evidence on the impact of pricing (for both customers fees and agents’ commissions) on Mobile Money behaviors. The core focus was the differences in drivers between Wallet and Over The Counter (OTC) transactions and four countries were selected to conduct the analysis: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana and Tanzania. After a preliminary component based on secondary research and expert interviews to clarify definitions, the Altai team i) spent time on the ground to validate the pricing structure through meetings with the services, agents and customers, ii) measured the main behaviors and the rationales behind them and iii) built a framework to categorize transactions. The synthesis report prepared by CGAP can be found here

Bridging the Mobile Money Gender Gap in West Africa, using big data and ethnographic research

Altai Consulting has been appointed by the GSMA Connected Women team to help bridge the mobile money gender gap in West Africa. Our strategy  analysis has provided actionable recommendations for various stakeholders to reduce this gap. Altai’s team of multi-disciplinary experts used big data analytics, quantitative phone-based interviews, focus group discussion and ethnographic research. By doing so, we leverage a 360° approach that was able to review the usage of traditional and mobile financial services and assess every touch point, both endogenous an exogenous.

Assessment of Digital Financial Services Market Opportunities for a consortium of 6 major financial institutions

Altai Consulting is advising financial institutions on the development of strategic approaches to improve financial inclusion through the use of digital financial services. This study includes a mapping of current financial services available (including branchless banking and mobile money services) as well as an assessment of demand for (digital) financial services in 5 main cities of DRC. Main market opportunities will be identified to help financial institutions develop their activities and client base, leveraging digital financial services.

Mobile Money Ecosystem Research

The ICT Sector Unit of the World Bank Group has been working with the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS), the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to provide a multi-phased programme of technical support for the ICT legal and regulatory framework and enabling environment.
Altai Consulting has been selected by the World Bank to carry out the programme’s research component and collect supply and demand side market data on the mobile money ecosystem in Somalia. The research team used mixed research methods to look into the current use of mobile money and the wider state of the mobile money industry in Somalia. In particular the quantitative survey covered all economic zones and federated states in Somalia, with field teams deployed in both urban and rural areas, including in some remote and hard to access settlements.
The research used a combination of landscape mapping, qualitative analysis and econometric modelling to provide evidence-based advice on how to bring Somalia’s mobile money ecosystem to the next level, improve financial inclusion for bottom of the pyramid populations and increase the sector’s economic contribution to the development of the country. The analysis helped frame the programme’s second component, an operational component that will work to develop service(s) enabling civil servants to receive and send money from their mobile phone, including for salary payments and utility bill payments.

Supply & Demand Analysis, Mapping of Financial Services and DFS Strategy/Roadmap Elaboration for a leading local Mobile Network Operator in Egypt

Altai Consulting has been appointed by a leading mobile network operator to map the financial services sector in Egypt (demand & supply) and identify where DFS could provide significant value added. Tools used during the project included both qualitative and quantitative research such as face to face interviews, mystery visits, and a large quantitative survey. This assignment led to the elaboration of the operator’s DFS launch strategy.

Using Big Data to extend Mobile Money reach in Sub Saharan Africa

Although mobile money services have extended further into rural areas than more traditional financial services, rural customers still remain an underserved segment. Creating, managing and sustaining agent network in remote areas used to remain an industry blind spot. To address this distribution challenge, the GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked team (MMU) program commissioned Altai to understand how to extend mobile money reach. Altai explored two predominantly rural markets in Africa (Mali & Chad) and analysed agent profile, operation and financial management developing an innovative methodology combining field research and data analytics. See the full report: Spotlight on Rural Supply Critical Factors to Create Successful Mobile Money Agents, click here.

Understanding consumer behaviour related to Mobile Money

Altai Consulting has been funded by the British Government (DFID) to analyse consumer behaviour related to Mobile Money in DRC. Altai Consulting conducted a comprehensive research to understand the barriers from a consumer perspective and understand where users got blocked in the consumer journey. The findings were then shared with all operators, and has since led to two tangible initiatives from MNOs.

Analysing Financial Behaviour data in Ghana

Altai Consulting was appointed by CGAP to conduct an in-depth analysis of comprehensive data-sets on financial behaviour in Ghana. Data had been collected several months earlier and Altai’s role was to identify the key jewels of information in those large data sets (quantitative interviews of 3,000 people by country). This involved complex statistical analysis (segmentation, drivers’ analysis, etc.) as well as mapping effort.

Analysing Financial Behaviour in Uganda and Tanzania

Altai Consulting was appointed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct an in-depth analysis of comprehensive data-sets published by the foundation on financial behaviour in Uganda and in Tanzania. Data had been collected several months earlier and Altai’s role was to identify the key jewels of information in those large data sets (quantitative interviews of 3,000 people by country). This involved complex statistical analysis (segmentation, drivers’ analysis, etc.) as well as mapping effort.

Monitoring & Evaluation of GSMA support to a leading local Mobile Network Operator’s MFS in Mali

Altai Consulting has been appointed by the GSMA’s MMU to set-up the Monitoring and Evaluation framework to measure the impact of GSMA’s engagement with a leading local mobile network operator providing mobile money services. This M&E engagement was based on primary research conducted through a phone-based research.

Supply & Demand Financial Sector Analysis, Regulatory Review, Business Planning, Strategy/Roadmap Elaboration for a leading MNO in Algeria

Altai Consulting is advising a leading mobile operator in Algeria to develop it MFS strategy. The assignment encompasses a large-scale assessment of the financial sector from the supply and the demand side to identify opportunities and size the potential product by product. In addition, a full regulatory review took place to identify opportunities for the MNO to launch in a context of strict banking regulation and in the absence of any specific MFS regulation. Following a strategy workshop, priorities have been defined and a business plan presented supporting a product roadmap.

Understanding & boosting Mobile Money Usage

Altai Consulting was commissioned by USAID & FAIDA (Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan) to conduct a large scale research on mobile money usage and perceptions in Afghanistan. The end goal being to help all industry stakeholders, not only MNOs, but also donors, government authorities, etc. to boost mobile money penetration and usage.