Banking for the Unbanked

Visa — Rwanda Research

In Rwanda, multinational payments company Visa collaborated with frog to design a new mobile banking service to help Rwandans manage their money and lead better lives.

Rwanda is one of the most stable and vibrant economies in Africa, yet only twenty percent of the population has access to basic banking. To support accelerating growth and changing consumer demands, Visa partnered with frog to explore a new infrastructure for financial services in Rwanda.

Visa entered Rwanda a few years ago to broaden access to basic banking services. Before crafting a solution with broad appeal, Visa needed to hone in on financial habits related to shopping and savings. And while they knew that mobile phones could play a strong role in bringing banking to the masses, they didn't fully understand how issues of access and privacy would play out in a Rwandan context.

Visa collaborated with frog for three months of immersive research to uncover the mental models that drive the financial behavior of Rwandans. The team surveyed 24 locations across the country, collecting 7,500 images, 110 hours of interviews. Research insights were used to develop personas -- distinct profiles of consumers that exemplify specific behaviors and attitudes around financial products.

To build on these personas and insights, frog and Visa held a multi-day frogTHINK workshop to generate hundreds of new product, service and strategy ideas. These were then evaluated, prototyped, and narrowed into a 10 recommended solutions.

During research, for example, frog uncovered the use of social savings clubs -- informal gatherings that were not only fun to attend but also created social incentive around discipline and savings. Remaimagined as a formal banking service, "Socialize Savings" pairs the social influence of these clubs with the security of a bank -- and the convenience of a mobile phone.

In partnership with the Bank of Kigali and microfinance lender Urwego Opportunity Bank, Visa is now rolling out mVisa, a mobile banking platform which will serve as the foundational go-to-market offering for the new solutions that emerged from frog’s research.

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