Digital cash transfers and transitioning from humanitarian cash to social protection

Digitalisation efforts are growing within humanitarian cash transfers and government-led social assistance. FCDO, among other donors, also increasingly expects humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA) to more intentionally consider government-led social protection programmes in their designs. While encouraging the use of digital payments within humanitarian cash programmes is not new, doing so alongside expectations to strengthen social protection systems is. This guidance note thus sets out the potential benefits, risks, and suggested pre-requisites when wanting to transition humanitarian cash programmes to digital payments in an inclusive and sustainable manner, in contexts where social protection (SP) alignment is also a priority.
NB: this primer is not intended to cover digital payment adoption within humanitarian CVA writ large, but rather the intersection of humanitarian CVA and social protection, with one area of alignment being approaches to digital payment.