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The GSMA mWomen Programme and Visa Inc. have released their study on women and mobile money programs. The study, which was led by Bankable Frontier Associates, assessed the potential for mobile money adoption among women in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania. Mobile Payments Today has been publishing posts from researchers involved with the study.
The final report, called "Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets," said that women in developing markets, underserved by traditional financial tools, represent a commercial opportunity for providers of mobile financial services
"This research clearly demonstrates that women play a critical role in the success of mobile financial services deployment," Chris Locke, managing director of GSMA Mobile for Development, said in a statement. "It underscores the fact that services delivered via mobile phone can better meet women's financial management needs than many of the informal tools they use today and, equally important, provides actionable guidance about how MFS providers can best expand and market their services to better address women's requirements."
According to the report, more than 2 billion people lack access to basic financial services, the majority of whom are women. The study found that three-quarters (75 percent) of women contribute to household income, though often from "irregular sources" such as small businesses or agricultural sales. Additionally, the report found that women value mobile money services, which they consider to be secure and private.
"This study has shown that low-income women undertake complex financial management for their households using a set of often sub-standard instruments," said Daryl Collins, a director at Bankable Frontier Associates. "Women often work with high-frequency, low-value cash flows, which indicates a good match between the services they need and the opportunity for the mobile financial services industry to broaden and stabilize their consumer base."
The report also provided recommendations for companies looking to provide mobile money programs in emerging markets. Suggestions included improving women's access to mobile services and increasing their awareness and working knowledge of mobile financial services. It also said that customer services are important as women value convenience and reliability in addition to security and privacy.
The study used both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Research included a household survey commissioned by BFA in Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania as well as small focus groups and one-on-one interviews in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania.
GSMA is an organization representing the interests of the international wireless industry. GSMA mWomen is a part of GSMA Mobile for Development. The program works toward increasing women's access to mobile phones and mobile services in developing markets.