Telenor’s EasyPaisa has made it to the finals of the Wall Street Journal Financial Inclusion Challenge.
The competition was open for non-profits and for-profit ventures and focused on the Asia Pacific region. Participation simply required a short video proposal that showed how a company’s solutions were helping solve the issue of financial access for poor people.
An independent panel of judges assessed all entries and Telenor’s Easypaisa is among the final six entries. The winners will be selected in three categories: technology, education and operational effectiveness. Apart from that, there will be an overall winner as well as a People’s Choice Winner.
EasyPaisa, a mobile banking service, was launced in 2009 after Telenor collaborated with Tameer Micro Finance Bank. Right now, it has over 60,000 retail outlets across the country. It offers financial services and health insurance to more than 6 million people.
EasyPaisa is available to all mobile phone owners in Pakistan and that’s significant because while mobile penetration rate is over 70%, only 15% of the population has a bank account.
Financial Inclusion Challenge judge, Vipin Sharma, said:
The company has a sustainable and scalable model that allows it to offer a wide variety of products.
Other participants include:
- Shanghai F-road Commercial Services, which is making mobile banking accessible to the rural folk of China.
- Kiva, which is one of the first crowdfunding platforms for microfinance in the world
- BRAC, a rural development organization founded in Bangladesh
- Ekphatthana Microfinance Institution, which reaches out to children in rural Laos to teach them finance
- Going to School, which is an NGO that teaches entrepreneurial skills to low-income children in India through books and moving pictures
The voting process to determine the winner has already started and it will go on till June 26. To help Telenor win, you can go here and cast your vote.
The winners will be announced on June 30.