Support Us
CEGA Initiative - Digital Credit Observatory

Digital Credit Observatory


Lack of access to finance is an important impediment to development in low-income countries. As such, the rapid proliferation of digital financial services in emerging markets has important implications for global financial inclusion. Unbanked individuals in low-income countries are increasingly able to bypass brick-and-mortar financial institutions to save, borrow, and make payments directly through their mobile phones. Meanwhile, providers are leveraging alternative data sources, including mobile phone records, to assess credit risk for low-income borrowers in the absence of formal transaction histories. While digital credit holds great promise to improve the financial lives and welfare of these consumers, its use may pose serious risks including over-indebtedness, identity theft, and fraud, especially in unregulated (or under-regulated) markets. There is much to learn about the potential impacts and optimal design of digital credit in emerging markets; a rigorous evidence base is urgently needed to better understand elements of this sector at scale. Read the DCO white paper for a summary of the existing research on digital credit that informs our research agenda.



The DCO was established in 2016 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support a coordinated portfolio of rigorous research on the impacts—both positive and negative—of digital credit products in emerging markets, and the effectiveness of related consumer protection measures. DCO researchers use randomized trials, machine learning, and other rigorous methods to answer questions of critical importance to this sector. In addition to funding research, the DCO maintains a strong network of private sector, academic, and policy partners working on digital credit for the purposes of sharing information and identifying meaningful areas of collaboration. Finally, the DCO translates the results of its research into actionable insights that can be used to inform the design of new digital credit products, credit scoring algorithms, and financial policies.

Subscribe to the DCO Newsletter

Read the DCO White Paper

Supporting Partners
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

DCO Research

Financial Inclusion

Effects of Credit Limit Changes on Digital Airtime Loan Repayment

Alain Shema |
Data Science for DevelopmentFinancial InclusionTechnology

Welfare-centric Credit Scoring in Nigeria

Joshua Blumenstock | Nigeria
Financial Inclusion

The Impacts of Liquidity Loans to Mobile Money Agents on Women Agents’ Empowerment, and Their Business and Transaction Behavior

Russell Toth | Myanmar
AgricultureFinancial Inclusion

Gender Norms and Agricultural Credit in Odisha

Berber Kramer | India
Global NetworksFinancial InclusionTechnologyWork & Education

Can gender blinding policies promote female entrepreneurship? The role of discrimination and access to capital

Shibiru Melesse | Ethiopia
AgricultureFinancial Inclusion

Digital Credit and Payments in the Dairy Sector in Uganda

Alfredo Burlando | Uganda
View More DCO Research

DCO Resources

Financial Inclusion

Too Fast, Too Furious? Digital Credit Delivery Speed and Repayment Rates

Working Paper   |   Financial Inclusion
Financial Inclusion

Video: Digital Credit Speed and Repayment Rates in Mexico | DCO Webinar Series

Presentations   |   Financial Inclusion
Financial Inclusion

What explains low adoption of digital payment technologies? Evidence from small-scale merchants in Jaipur, India

Research Publications   |   Financial Inclusion
Financial Inclusion

Results Brief: Access to Digital Credit and its Spillover Effects in China

Reports & Policy Briefs   |   Financial Inclusion
Financial Inclusion

Results Brief: Consumer Protection Oversights in the Chinese Social Credit System

Reports & Policy Briefs   |   Financial Inclusion
Financial Inclusion

Video: Digital Credit: Filling a hole, or digging a hole? Evidence from Malawi

Presentations   |   Financial Inclusion
View More DCO Resources


Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved

Design & Dev by Wonderland Collective