Using Open APIs To Drive Financial Inclusion via Credit Scoring Built on Telecoms Data

Financial exclusion remains a significant challenge in developing economies. It has been shown that access to credit facilities is a strong predictor of financial inclusion. Credit reporting and scoring remain effective tools for both traditional and alternative lenders, however, access to credible credit data and scoring mechanisms is one of the biggest roadblocks that alternative lenders in developing economies face. While some lenders have developed systems that leverage social media analytics and data harvested from smartphones in order to create a scoring system, the poor and vulnerable are still excluded from such scoring systems. There have been significant advances in the use of telecoms data for credit scoring, making it a promising alternative to credit bureau data. However, readily available data is still an issue. With the increase in the development and use of open APIs, telecoms data could be made readily available for credit scoring, while addressing privacy and other issues. This paper is a conceptual paper that proposes a model for the use of Open APIs from telco data for credit scoring that will ultimately increase access to credit, and ultimately financial inclusion in Africa.

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