e-Payments Toolkit

  • October 22, 2014

This Toolkit was created for non-governmental relief and development organizations to guide them in their journey of transitioning from using cash payments to electronic payments in all operational and program payment streams. It is intended to be practical, easy to follow, bite-size, sectional, with guidance on sequencing (ie. some sections are linear while others may be concurrent).

It’s divided into the following three sections following a ten-step process:

  • Section One: Introduction – Section one is an Introduction to the topic and what it means for your organization and payment recipients.
  • Section Two: Analysis – Section two is divided into Internal Analysis of your own organization’s readiness to transition, and External Analysis of the market’s readiness. The steps within this section are not necessarily sequential but may be implemented simultaneously.
  • Section Three: Implementation – Section three is more linear in the order for which an organization would test pilot, refine, rollout, and scale up the transition of payment streams.

Within organizations, the Toolkit is useful for a wide range of staff who are involved in and/or who have a stake in the processing of payment streams for operations or programs.  Typically, this involves finance staff both in the field and at head office level, internal audit staff, and program staff who are managing programs where there are payment streams made to program participants.  Depending on the organization, it may also be useful for legal, procurement or contracts staff whose role is to negotiate with service providers.  And importantly, the senior leadership who has a stake in implementing any change management within the organization.

Though many issues covered in the Toolkit are specific to a certain step, there are recurring themes throughout the journey of transition:

  • User-centric design: the primary reasons for transitioning relate to the benefits gained by the end recipient, and issues affecting the recipient including consumer protection, consumer behavior, capability and needs should be incorporated from the beginning.
  • Behavior and organizational change: an organization’s transition to a new payment system requires a change management strategy, with a thoughtful, measured, and iterative approach.
  • Endorsement and championship: strong leadership is necessary to motivate and champion the acceptance of a new system by staff and end recipients.
  • Risk management: throughout the process, it’s important to consider risks such as operational, financial, legal, technological, etc. and be prepared with a plan on how to mitigate those risks.
  • Data management: new payment systems involve collection of recipient data that may require new process flows and/or involve issues around data storage and privacy.
  • Knowledge management: often the most useful guidance can be sourced from colleagues and peers within an organization that has already transitioned to electronic payments in one program or country. It’s strongly encouraged to actively seek out, and to disseminate, information throughout the organization about these experiences.

The USAID Digital Development and NetHope Payment Innovations teams aim to make this journey easier and smoother with use of this Toolkit, benefiting from lessons learned and experiences of organizations that are paving the way. Recognizing that it’s a rapidly changing field we would welcome feedback and input from the use of this Toolkit at:

The e-Payments toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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