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Many households in Nepal, especially in hill and mountain regions, lack access to financial services, and thus walk hours if not days to reach a bank branch. As a result, over 70 percent of Nepalis are disconnected from the formal financial sector. Without formal financial services, households pay more for monetary transactions, and cash payments are less secure. USAID’s Nepal Economic Agriculture and Trade (NEAT) Activity recognized the potential of mobile financial services to reach unbanked households. Since 2011, USAID NEAT has partnered with Mega Bank, a Nepali commercial bank, to support the establishment of branchless banking outlets, and with Laxmi Bank, another Nepali commercial bank, to support the rollout of mobile banking—its Mobile Khatta service—using FinAccess’s Hello Paisa shared technology platform. As a result of USAID’s support, over 300 mobile financial services agents in 16 districts are operational in Nepal. Nepali private sector leaders estimate that not only will mobile financial services reach all 75 districts of Nepal in five years, but new products such as insurance, health services, and market information will also be available through this channel—benefiting Nepal’s rural population exponentially.

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