Colin Digby Shares his Insights on how our Partnership with Paycode is Reaching Underserved Communities

Published // 24th March 2021

Crown Agents Bank is proud to be working alongside Paycode to create secure, transparent solutions for last mile delivery and verification of payments into rural areas in emerging markets. Our Head of Banks & Non-Bank Financial Institutions, Colin Digby, shares his insights on the partnership and our enthusiasm in driving this collaboration forward into the future to reach the financially underserved. Together we are better-able to help those across our markets access and utilise financial services, moving money where it is needed.

Crown Agents Bank’s (CAB) ultimate goal is to move money where it’s needed. We have been providing financial services across emerging & frontier markets for nearly 200 years – and are increasingly innovating to make best use of the latest technological developments that allow us to move money as quickly, securely, and as cost efficiently as possible. CAB’s client list extends across many of the leading Fintech payment companies, International Development Organisations (IDO’s), and International Banks that require its expertise and unparalleled access to emerging and frontier markets globally.

Whether extending delivery into new local bank payment methods, mobile payments, or, more recently, looking at alternative technologies like biometric solutions, our DNA remains the same: to reach underserved communities often unable to access financial services due to constraints or costs associated with global banking infrastructure.

The challenge

Operating in emerging and frontier markets truly requires expertise and a deep understanding of the local culture and social dimensions including extreme poverty, deep rural locations where personal identities may be non-existent, and, in some areas, limited coverage for mobile signals, which means mobile banking isn’t an option. These collective dimensions result in significant challenges when it comes to delivering money to the last mile and even more so when serving the communities living there.

Providing complete assurance to clients that funds are secure and can be delivered safely to their intended recipients is what banks are supposed to do better than anyone and, as a fully regulated UK bank, the ability to provide these assurances has never been optional for us. However, in markets where centralised national registries or databases simply do not exist or where many people have never had any form of identity, it can be difficult to source proof of life guarantee of who the beneficiary is and that they are the intended recipient.

Partnering with best-of-breed solution, Paycode

We needed to find a secure way to accurately identify people where having ID has not traditionally been possible. That is why when we heard about Paycode and their work it was an obvious fit. Paycode is a fintech company that provides people with biometric identity and can guarantee proof-of-life. Their world-class technology platform combines identity, data, and payments that work offline in real time, anywhere in the world, making it particularly useful in reaching the last mile in deep rural locations. Paycode’s technology gives people a way to verify that they are who they say they are. It fully supports the use of fingerprint, facial, or palm identification, making it a robust platform from which to rapidly disburse development grants, diaspora remittance flows, salaries, and even e-health passports to people who don’t have any type of formal identity document. Further, funds can be disbursed digitally, in real time, and eradicate any potential duplicates or ghost workers, significantly reducing the risk of fraud.

CAB and Paycode share many values and possess a common mission to address the challenges of unbanked and underbanked communities in deep rural locations. CAB are well positioned to handle the key banking functions to UK-regulated standards and Paycode can provide the verification of the recipient, data management, and offline real-time payments. This creates an ecosystem based on safeguarded accounts and a guarantee of zero tampering of funds, so they are immediately available to disburse to the intended recipients and initiatives as and when required.

The future opportunities

As our strategic partnership with Paycode has developed, we have experienced a whole new challenge in the form of a global pandemic. CAB and Paycode are uniquely placed to partner with global or national enterprises that need to pay healthcare and support workers delivering vaccines.

We have already started working with multiple national and global enterprises to define data and payment solutions for healthcare and support workers, to sustain a rapid roll-out of vaccination programs in a number of emerging & frontier markets.

The possibilities created from an award-winning bank and forward-thinking Fintech company working together are extremely exciting. We have already identified several opportunities for optimization including agricultural initiatives with micro loan management and farmer payroll, and extending reach for diaspora remittances in order to further develop our services in underserved regions and create more opportunities for financial inclusion, no matter where people live.


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