Telenor’s EasyPaisa has been revealed as the People’s Choice Winner in the Wall Street Journal Financial Inclusion Challenge. The People’s Choice category was decided by an open vote.
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 was one of six entries.
Here are all the winners in their respective categories:
- Overall winner and Technology: Shanghai F-road Commercial Services, which is making mobile banking accessible to the rural folk of China.
- Education: Going to School, which is an NGO that teaches entrepreneurial skills to low-income children in India through books and moving pictures.
- Operational effectiveness: Kiva, which is one of the first crowdfunding platforms for microfinance in the world.
- People’s Choice: Telenor EasyPaisa.
EasyPaisa, a mobile banking service, was launched 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.