Project Year



Latin America and the Caribbean



Project Description

In Colombia, a country with almost as many mobile phones as inhabitants, the use of mobile money is still not widely adopted. While state and private banks promote free mobile banking services, people in low-income areas prefer to use game operator networks to serve their needs due to the variety of transactions they cover and proximity. Currently, many people living under the poverty line play 'chance’- or lotto-like games. Game networks, which operate via terminals located at small stores scattered throughout poor neighborhoods, have begun offering clients simple financial service offerings, such as access to savings accounts or money transfer to encourage customer retention and facilitate playing. Customers can buy pre-paid cards (e.g., power or phone cards), send or receive money, and pay debts through these outlets. Understanding why customers choose these services over other traditional banking services can provide insight into design success criteria for developing and improving offerings outside to the gaming networks. This study will explore the different factors that determine poor people's adoption of game operator networks for transaction services over other platforms (bank, mobile phone, and postal), and provide guidelines to help develop mobile money services better adapted to their needs. Based on the research findings, the team will present recommendations on which features and benefits should be included in a mobile payment or savings platform to ensure adoption with Colombian consumers.


Ana Echeverry, Coppelia Herrán, Anny Chou, Liliana Sanin

About the Researcher(s)

Ana Echeverry is a local researcher (Medellin) at TOCA, a Chicago-based consultancy, and Project Lead. Ana has a Master's degree in design planning from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, in Chicago. She is also an industrial designer from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB), where she previously worked as coordinator and professor of postgraduate studies in innovation planning.

Coppelia Herrán is an industrial designer from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB), where she also works as a researcher and professor. Currently, she is also a Master's degree candidate in Anthropology at the Universidad of Antioquia. She leads a research line focusing on 'material culture' within the Group of Design Studies at UPB. Coppelia has worked in multiple research projects involving poor and vulnerable communities in Colombia. 

Anny Chou brings a well-rounded, international background to the TOCA team. She has project management experience, analytical capabilities, and sales expertise. With her exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, Anny is adept at leading cross-functional teams and cross-cultural teams, and helping clients understand the business value of different product or service offerings. Prior to TOCA, she worked at leading financial software provider Morningstar in its Development Program. She was responsible for training Morningstar's worldwide customer base on the firm’s reference database before successfully transferring ownership of this process to the New Delhi and Shenzhen Global Operations Team. Anny received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Carleton College.

Liliana Sanin is an industrial designer from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB). She coordinates knowledge transfer projects between UPB and industry. Her previous experience includes working at Interactuar, an NGO specializing in micro-credit and education for the poor.

Synopsis of Research Results

Link to their white paper: Betting on Chance in Colombia.

En Espanyol: Apostándole al Chance en Colombia.


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