CATALYST – Inclusive Cashless Payment Partnership, housed in IFMR LEAD, is an initiative seeded by an alliance between the Government of India & USAID, to to significantly expand and accelerate the use of digital payments by low income consumers and merchants across India.

In doing so, CATALYST aims to work closely with the private sector players and serve as an incubation platform to demonstrate innovative and viable business models in digital finance, targeting low-income populations.

CATALYST’s core belief is that the incubation of scalable business or delivery models that focus on low-income, financially underserved, communities remains the most tangible way of making impact. Technology and regulation are both rapidly evolving in the right direction in India and the lack of viable business models and use-cases for low-income communities are primary deterrents to the potential they carry. These regulatory and technology developments mean that organizations will need to test, iterate and refine new service offerings and business models.

With this in mind, CATALYST envisions a project incubation engine – supporting organisations in designing and testing innovative new projects is at its core. CATALYST envisions incubating projects that are relevant to its strategic objectives – (i) leveraging technology and regulations to accelerate merchant acceptance and enhancing consumer adoption of digital payments; (ii) creating direct impact on low income, financially excluded consumers through improved access to formal financial products and services, and (iii) creating scalable and sustainable business models built around digital payments. Learnings from these projects are captured robustly and disseminated widely to both businesses and policymakers.

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