Two billion adults around the world are unbanked. Without access to safe and affordable financial services that meet their daily needs, many low-income households have difficulty managing their money and making investments. While innovations in digital finance have increased access to financial services, take-up remains low and usage rates are often disappointing. More work is needed to design and test digital product innovations to encourage use and promote healthy financial behavior.
The Financial Services for the Poor Initiative supports research on these digital innovations to help low-income households in the developing world access and benefit from formal financial services. We address outstanding questions on how to design and scale innovations to bring affordable and effective services within the reach of previously unbanked and underserved clients.
The Initiative oversees a portfolio of randomized evaluations and manages an annual competitive fund to support partnerships between researchers and financial service providers who wish to use rigorous evaluation techniques to inform product design. These research partnerships work to identify which types of financial services are best matched to the unique financial needs of the poor, how providers can digitize and scale those products, and whether digital platforms can be used to improve the delivery of non-financial products, like health or educational services.
The Financial Inclusion Program's 2016 Call for Expressions of Interest is now closed.