As countries around the world grapple with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have turned to supplemental cash transfers as a key policy instrument to offset the loss of income of their citizens.

This policy brief explores what national governments are doing to enable rapid payments to those without existing accounts. The swift measures governments took to speed up payments to citizens during the pandemic include:

  • Quick identification of eligible recipients
  • Simplification of customer due diligence for rapid account opening
  • Greater use of alternative channels such as mobile apps, post offices, and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) such as microfinance providers.

Each section of this brief includes country-specific examples and key takeaways. Efforts by 19 countries to facilitate cash transfers, both digital and non-digital, are discussed.

This work was conducted in partnership with GIZ.


Loretta Michaels

Independent Consultant

Loretta Michaels is an independent consultant with a focus on policy strategy around digital financial inclusion. She works closely with the World Bank/IFC, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the Better Than Cash Alliance (BTCA), amongst others, and has supported the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) since 2014. Previously, she was the Senior Policy Advisor for Financial Inclusion for the US Treasury, where she was the subject matter expert on technology-enabled financial inclusion, working with officials across the US government to promote enabling policy environments and capacity building programs in low-income countries. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Loretta served in a number of management positions in the telecommunications industry, leading the development of new venture initiatives worldwide. She also managed the Telecoms & IT consulting unit at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

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