Role of Intermediaries in Providing Financial Access: Current and Future Research Trends

  • Rajesh Chandwani
  • Vaibhavi Kulkarni
Part of the Advances in Theory and Practice of Emerging Markets book series (ATPEM)


Access to financial products and services is considered to be an important determinant of development, as it has been linked to poverty alleviation. Policymakers in the emerging economies design and implement various solutions to overcome barriers to financial access. Mobile phones have been highlighted as the potential means to extend financial services, especially in countries like India, where mobile penetration is high. However, gaps in digital literacy and financial literacy need to be overcome to realize the potential of mobile phones in enabling financial access. Scholars and practitioners have highlighted the role of ‘intermediaries’ who can bridge these gaps and provide the last mile connectivity between ICT initiatives and the user community. Traditionally, ‘intermediaries’ refer to the human intermediaries. We do, however, have some initiatives that use technology itself to bridge gaps related to financial literacy as well as digital literacy. For instance, user-friendly interactive systems that provide information about the use of mobile phones for payment as well as about financial products and services. In this chapter, we describe such initiatives where intermediation through both human intervention and technology was used for enabling financial access. Further, we outline potential research directions that can further illuminate the role of intermediation in enabling financial access.


Intermediaries Financial inclusion Access ICT4D Digital literacy 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of ManagementAhmedabadIndia

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