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Digital Financial Services
Why digital delivery of financial services?
Women face a variety of barriers to access financial services, low literacy levels, cultural barriers, lack of legal identification and time and mobility constraints. Financial services delivered digitally can address these barriers by offering accessibility, convenience, privacy and security through new channels such as mobile phones and retail agents.
With digital technology, a woman, who may not have otherwise had access, can open a bank account in her own name. She can plan for her future and the future of her family, build a safety net for times of crisis, and even grow her business with access to loans and other offerings from the bank.
Women’s World Banking is working with two commercial banks to deliver financial services to women using digital technology.
We worked with Diamond Bank in Nigeria to create BETA Savings, a savings account designed for women and men who run stalls in the open-air markets. Agents, knowns as BETA Friends, visit a client’s business to open accounts and handle deposits and withdrawals using a mobile phone. More than 250,000 accounts were opened through the first half of 2015, primarily from clients with no prior relationship with a financial institution.
In Malawi, NBS Bank worked with Women’s World Banking to develop the Pafupi (meaning “close” in the local dialect, Chichewa) savings account, designed for low-income rural women who are not using a bank either because it is too far or they don’t think a bank is meant for them. Women can open accounts and make small deposits and withdrawals whenever they want at local shops with NBS Bank agents who transact with the bank via a mobile phone.
Our Impact and Reach
Introduced in: Diamond Bank (Nigeria) in 2013: BETA Savings
Expanded to: NBS Bank (Malawi) in 2014: Pafupi Savings