Fletcher in the News

Prof. Aker and Prof. Wilson Examine Mobile Money's Impact on Savings

Mobile money can boost financial inclusion, savings – Research

A new research funded by the SWIFT Institute has revealed that mobile money can help to promote financial inclusion and boost savings rates amongst remote communities.

The research, carried out by US-based Tufts University in rural communities in northern Ghana with little access to financial services, demonstrated that take-up of mobile money can be easily promoted and that use of mobile money services can help to encourage a savings culture.

A month into the research project, 10% of participants had used the service solely for money transfer; two and half months later, usage increased to 26% of households, with 86% of users receiving money transfers and 70% of users saving on their mobile phone.

In a release SWIFT, the financial messaging provider for more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 212 countries and territories, said the results could provide a possible model for policy makers around the world to extend the reach of financial services.

“If mobile money services can help to improve financial inclusion in this way, they could offer a crucial mechanism through which to address a stubborn problem that continues to hinder economic development,” the statement said. ...

...Jenny Aker, Assistant Professor of Economics, the Fletcher School, Tufts University, said: “Whilst these early findings are limited, the research suggests that simple interventions to alleviate the barriers to mobile money adoption can help to encourage its use for receiving remittances and as a saving mechanism. If further research supports these conclusions, mobile money could be an important mechanism for promoting financial inclusion.” 

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