Accelerators Toolkit: Framing the Case

Digitize government payments (G2P, G2B)

Key Learning

  • Digitizing government payments can play a powerful role in advancing the digital payments ecosystem by capturing individuals and businesses into digital payments products and services, enhancing people’s comfort with digital payments through the government’s demonstrated support, and generating efficiencies and cost savings
  • Digitize government payments with close regard to the existing financial ecosystem
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Digitizing G2P Payments through Existing CCT Programs


  • Context: In Brazil, the government merged multiple pre-existing CCT programs into the Bolsa Familia Program (BFP), which operates through an electronic benefit card (EBC) linked to bank accounts at the state-owned bank Caixa.
  • Results: BFP saved the government 31% in transaction costs.[1] BFP assists approximately 50 million people, ¼ of the population, by providing them with a minimum level of income through these bank-account based grant transfers.[2] A year after launch in 2004, the program catalyzed 20-25% of Brazil’s dramatic decrease in inequality and 16% of its decrease in extreme poverty.[3]

  • Context: In South Africa, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) migrated social grant recipients to electronic payment systems
  • Results: The government cut fees by 54% when transferring payments into mainstream commercial bank accounts.[1]

  • Context: In Colombia, when the CCT program Mas Familias en Acción implemented digital payments in 2009, it incurred more costs for the government than cash-based programs because it attempted to build its distribution network from scratch.[1]
  • Results: As a result of these issues, in 2012 the government gave Banco Davivienda’s mobile money platform DaviPlata a contract to facilitate payments to 900,000 beneficiaries of Mas Familias en Acción, helping the digitization process and forcing BA to accelerate its expansion.[4]
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Centralizing and Digitizing Payments to Individuals and Businesses


  • Context: The Mexican government meticulously planned and executed a centralization and digitization of government payments to suppliers and individuals for payrolls, pensions, and social benefits.
  • Results: The digitization and centralization saved the government US $17B per year, or 3.3% of the expenditures relating to salaries, pensions, and social transfers[5]
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Inhibitors to Digitizing Government Payments


  • A digitized government payment needs to account for the existing distribution network that reaches the target recipient base
  • Colombia incurred much greater cost when digitizing its CCT program than did Brazil and South Africa, largely due to their initial attempt to build a distribution network from scratch


  1. Parker, Sarah Rotman. “Branchless Banking and Financial Inclusion for G2P Recipients.” CGAP. 15 Mar. 2012. Web.
  2. “Bolsa Familia: An International Example of Social Inclusion. An Interview with Helmut Schwarzer.” Social Protection, July 2015. Web.
  3. Lindert, Kathy, Anja Linder, Jason Hobbs, and Bénédicte De La Brière. “The Nuts and Bolts of Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program: Implementing Conditional Cash Transfers in a Decentralized Context.” World Bank. May 2007. Web.
  4. Consultores, Marulanda. “DaviPlata: Taking Mobile G2P Payments to Scale in Colombia.” CGAP. 01 July 2015. Web.
  5. Babatz, Guillermo. Sustained Effort, Saving Billions: Lessons from the Mexican Government’s Shift to Electronic Payments.Better than Cash Alliance, 2013.