Research News

Effect of Mobile Financial Services on Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh 

Nahid Akhter & M. A. Baqui Khalily

Starting in 2011, in a short span of time mobile financial services has flourished at a geometric rate. Some 27 percent of the households and around 13 percent of the adult populations have access to MFS using either own mobile account or others’ accounts. But among them only 3% have own mobile bank account. Intensity of uses of MFSs varies by divisions with higher access in Barisal and Rangpur; the one reason is temporary domestic migration is higher in those regions. Share of accessing bank financial services as well as MFS is highest among the richest 20 per cent which gradually decreases as we move from the richest 20 per cent to the lowest 20 per cent. Conversely, households belonging to the poverty stricken groups are mostly accessing financial services from the MFI sector. Therefore, there is ample scope of expanding among the poverty stricken groups also.

The marginal effect shows that, on average, the probability of using MFS by a household increases by about 43% if the household have temporary domestic migrant family member. Female household heads are less likely to use MFS compared to male household head. Individuals with profession in non-agriculture, education level of household head, non-poor households and households in urban areas have higher probability to use MFSs. Out of 1588 micro merchants in the sample; around 30% have access to MFS.  The result shows that it significantly improves efficiency and financial inclusion in Bangladesh. But more research has to be done to design appropriate MFS products for these poverty stricken groups, so that poor people can also enjoy the benefits of MFS.


Appropriate Financial Products for Vulnerable Excluded Groups: Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

Farhana Nargis and Shah Md. Ahsan Habib


The main purpose of the study is to assess the nature and characteristics of demand for financial services among the excluded people and suggest some guideline on how to develop appropriate, user-friendly and sustainable financial services for the excluded people. This qualitative study brings out the challenges and the policy and regulatory issues to develop appropriate products for the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups like char and haor residents, tribal residents, tea garden workers, transgender, and physically challenged population.


It is possible to implement social policies more effectively if a financial market exists where all citizens have an equal right to access. However, policies should be directed towards expanding the reach of financial services to unbanked and under-banked in the rural areas. The vulnerable groups must be supported in different phases for graduation: starting with addressing health and social issues; then capacity and confidence building; and followed by creating demand for financing. NGO-MFIs might play notable role in creating these linkages. Proper understanding of the financial behavior and attitudes of different groups of people is important since the nature and level of income strongly influence the use of financial services. Therefore, designing the products for specific target groups, for example, transgender people, offering financial product will not be affective for the financial inclusion. Rather, creating appropriate economic opportunities for them and make them participate in those economic activities should be the utmost priority. Finally, they will need the social acceptance; without this, no policy or initiatives will work for their betterment.


Financial Inclusion for Working Street Children: A Demand Side Investigation

Farah Muneer


This paper addresses few key issues regarding the saving behaviour of working street children; i) What are the key characteristics of the children who save; ii) What factors influence the saving performance of children with respect to gender, and finally iii) What are the policy challenges need to be addressed if working children are given financial services. The study shows that 25% of working children do save informally in difference places indicating severe lack of secure place to keep their hard earned money. It is observed that savers are significantly different than non-savers in terms of gender, income and family characteristics. The probability of being able to save is higher by 1.83 times for a female child compared to a male child. This may indicate that ‘Money psychology’ of a male child and a female child is different from one another. Their spending pattern can also be different. The t-test suggests that male children are significantly different in spending their earning than female children. It is also found that spending more on productive purposes like food, education, and treatment significantly increases the probability to save. On the other hand, higher lumpy expenditure lowers the probability to save by 1.7 times. It is observed that the male children significantly spend more on entertainment and miscellaneous purposes than female. On contrary, spending on productive purposes like food and education is significantly higher for female children. The utilisation pattern of savings is different for male child compared to female child. It is found that the probability that male child will spend the savings on consumption is higher by 5 times than female child. On contrary in the case of spending on education different scenario is found. It is observed that the probability for female child utilising their saving on education increase by 17 times than that of male child.

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