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Paying attention to detail: How to transfer cash in cash transfers

April 2010 — By Valentina Barca, Alex Hurrell, Ian MacAuslan, Aly Visram, Jack Willis

This policy working paper looks at various delivery mechanisms which can be used to transfer cash to people in cash interventions. It discusses how these affect the costs, and the barriers, faced by those receiving cash as well as the costs and risks to implementing agencies of successful programme implementation.

The paper presents qualitative and quantitative evidence on three different payment systems being used in cash transfer programmes in Kenya: payment to recipients’ mobile phones that can be redeemed at various phone agents; payment through ‘Smartcards’ that can be redeemed at various banking agents using fingerprint technology for identification; and payment through post offices that recipients visit to collect their cash. It compares the challenges in implementing these systems, the difficulties recipients face in using them, and the effects these systems have on the impact of cash transfer programmes.