Cash Transfer Payment Mechanisms: Do Outcomes Vary According to Payment Mechanism?

Cash-transfer payment mechanisms abound and have diversified greatly in recent years. Payments can be made manually (in person) on a set schedule at a brick-and-mortar location such as a bank, post office, or government office or digitally via mobile money, biometrically authenticated smart cards or to a designated financial account, such as through a local bank or payment center. Research conducted before 2016 has shown that digital transfers may be more cost-effective for implementers than physical cash payments, expand customer coverage for participating mobile network operators, and provide avenues to increase financial inclusion for the poor, among other potential benefits. However, recent studies show that these benefits are not guaranteed.