Meeting the financial needs of low-income people in developing countries requires a wide variety of financial service providers. These can be formal institutions, such as banks, microfinance institutions, credit unions, and insurance companies, or informal organizations, such as rotating savings and credit cooperatives. It also requires the involvement of payment facilitators, such as agent networks, mobile network operators, and others. The different structures of financial service providers come with their own advantages and challenges that must be considered by the organizations themselves as well as funders.
Each of these provider types may play a specialized role in the market through its product offerings or client segments, but together they contribute to the availability of a diverse range of financial products and services for poor people. In addition to blending into the tapestry of financial inclusion, each type of provider fits a particular niche within the local context.