Transaction Cost Index

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In this image:Two people conduct a mobile money transaction in Uganda. © 2013 Will Boase
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Costs are a leading driver of take-up and usage of digital financial services (DFS), yet little work has been done to measure these costs systematically. The Transaction Cost Index (TCI) seeks to fill this gap by systematically measuring the costs of using mobile money. We consider a broad definition of cost, inclusive of official fees and taxes, informal extra fees charged by agents, and non-pecuniary costs such as the opportunity cost of time wasted on failed transactions and exposure to consumer protection risks.


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Desk Work

We systematically scraped official price lists from leading mobile money providers across 16 countries. We additionally collected information on tax treatment of mobile money transactions, regulations related to mobile money pricing, and the ease of accessing providers’ pricing information.


To measure costs beyond official fees, we tested three approaches to measuring the true cost of making mobile money transactions with agents, including overcharging and non-monetary costs. This work was conducted in Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Uganda.