In 2005, the Government of Nepal introduced an innovative financing scheme, known as the Safe Delivery Incentive Programme (SDIP), as part of its strategy to increase the use of maternity services. The SDIP provides cash to women who deliver in a health facility and an incentive to health workers for attending deliveries. Across the developing world, there is increasing interest in whether such financing policies work to reduce barriers that women face when seeking health care at childbirth. This briefing note reports on the impact of the SDIP in Makwanpur, a district of Nepal. It shows that the intervention has proved successful in raising utilisation of professional delivery services, but a high proportion of households continue to incur catastrophic health care payments when seeking care.