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Report

E-Transfers: One Year Later Workshop Learning Document

2014 — By Vaidehi Krishnan / Sara Murray / Erynn Carter

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Typhoon Yolanda), an estimated half million storm-affected Filipinos received an electronic cash transfer (e-transfer) to help them rebuild and recover from the storm’s devastation. The presence of a large number of Financial Service Providers (FSPs) with the requisite infrastructure was critical to enabling a cash response at significant scale. Even after a catastrophic typhoon, e-transfers could be implemented for beneficiaries at scale, over a wide geographic spread and with minimal cash-associated risks to the humanitarian organization. The range of FSPs and e-transfer products also meant that e-transfers could be used to introduce new financial services to recipients. Despite successes of the e-transfer response, implementation was not without challenges.

In November 2014, Mercy Corps in collaboration with UN OCHA and USAID – SIMM, with funding from Master Card organized a workshop for select humanitarian actors (HAs) and FSPs. The objective of the e-transfer workshop was to understand the different types of e-transfer models implemented during Typhoon Yolanda, their costs and benefits, user experience stories, potential for future engagement and challenges faced. The workshop sought to understand these topics from the perspectives of both the FSPs offering electronic payment services and HAs. This document summarizes findings from the workshop, which included 40 participants from HAs and FSPs. It does not make definitive recommendations on the feasibility or viability of e-transfers in a post disaster context.

The key findings provided in the resource are based on the various workshop activities and learning gained from the experience of implementing partners during Yolanda.

The accompanying annexes to the workshop report can be downloaded here.