New Report finds women are underserved market for mobile financial services

Advocating financial inclusion

A study released today by the GSMA mWomen Programme and Visa Inc. entitled, Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets, shows that women in developing countries represent a significant underserved market and commercial opportunity for mobile financial service providers. The study, focused on women in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania, was undertaken to gain additional insight into how financial institutions and mobile network operators can better support the complex financial lives of women at the base of the pyramid.

Around the world more than 2 billion people, the majority of whom are women, lack access to basic financial services. The study, led by Bankable Frontier Associates, found that women often also face an additional burden of having primary responsibility for managing the household finances. These resource-poor women must overcome numerous challenges in managing their finances: incomes are low, irregular and unpredictable, and formal financial tools hard to access.

Key report findings include:

  • Women actively contribute to household income – 75%  of women surveyed contribute some amount of income, most often from irregular sources like small businesses or agricultural sales;
  • Women use a variety of tools to manage household finances – Nearly 60% of women surveyed are saving money for daily expenses and long-term needs and a full one-third pay the family’s utility bills or make other types of remittances; and
  • Women recognise the security and privacy of mobile money – In Kenya, for example, 95% of women using mobile remittances rated them as secure and private. In comparison, only roughly half of those using personal delivery of cash as their primary method consider it secure and private.

“At Visa, we believe mobile technology is a key component in advancing financial inclusion, providing the excluded a convenient and accessible point of entry to the formal financial system,” said Aletha Ling , Chief Operating Officer of Fundamo, a Visa company. “This is particularly true for women, who face additional barriers to entering the financial mainstream and for whom security and privacy are critical issues. By working to build relevant services, expand distribution networks and tailor their marketing efforts, the mobile financial services community can create better approaches for reaching this underserved group.”

Further details of the report are available here. 

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