Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Warning Signs and Ways Forward: Lessons on Client Uptake from IMTFI Researchers

Insights from IMTFI research projects, a synthesis: "Warning Signs and Ways Forward"

IMTFI is devoted to supporting innovative research on the financial lives of the world’s poor and on the potential for new technologies to change the monetary ecologies in which people seek to make a life for themselves. 

IMTFI researchers have identified cross-cutting issues affecting client uptake for mobile and other electronic platforms. Some provide opportunities for developing new services or laying new products on existing platforms. Others are warning signs: recurrent themes that have impeded uptake in multiple contexts.

To date, IMTFI has supported over 105 projects in 38 different countries. This includes support for over 125 researchers, over 70% of whom are from the developing world.

Civilian seeking assistance on withdrawing remittances,
Lombok Island, Indonesia. Photo credit: Catur Sugiyanto

"Warning Signs and Ways Forward" investigates some of the recurring themes found across the first four years of research, investigating the pros and cons of digital platforms for payment and savings, while trying to show how the experiences and philosophies of the “target” populations of development initiatives themselves provide invaluable guidance for how to design and implement systems and policies that will actually benefit those they are intended to serve.

Interview with owners of small ruminants, Nigeria.
Photo credit: Isaac Oluwatayo

We emphasize that there is no one-size-fits-all proposition for mobile and electronic payment adoption. But we have also heard some of the same stories again and again, especially admonitions about potential obstacles to use.

Me and my four active phones, Afghanistan.
Photo credit: Jan Chipchase

We invite you to view the full booklet, accompanied photos from a sampling of IMTFI projects: Warning Signs and Ways Forward: Digital Client Uptake Document, November 2013

To request hard copies, please email

You can see more "IMTFI syntheses" and "White Papers" here, and view additional "Work In Action" here. 

To do a search on IMTFI projects, go to IMTFI's beta search page.

1 comment:

  1. Great research. It is indeed a matter of designing and implementing systems and policies that will actually benefit those from the developing world. Very true on the 4 phones. People from developing countries maintain more than one cellphone. I can never comprehend why is that.