March 6, 2014
Global remittance flows command a rightfully growing amount of attention. Recently Pew published a visualization of World Bank data on international remittances that helps show the scale and corridors of transfers. Of note, FAI’s Alicia Brindisi has been writing about south-to-south remittances and the huge market they represent.
Remittance flows are, of course, primarily driven by...
February 28, 2014
Each year, Mobile Money for the Unbanked’s State of the Industry report contains key...
February 26, 2014
Mobile money supporters often tout the benefits of using transfer services to facilitate remittances. Many users are migrants who made the financial investment to live in a Western country and send financial resources back home. But that is only part of the story. According to a 2010 UN report , the number of South-to-South migrants (73...
February 21, 2014
In Kenya, 70 percent of long distance payments from one individual to another are made electronically. Seventy percent of payments from governments and businesses to individuals are also made electronically. From 2006 to 2009 when M-Pesa—the Kenyan mobile instrument for all these payments—was expanding, the total number of person-to-person electronic transactions shot up rapidly, by 215 percent.
What would happen if the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa looked like Kenya? A just out from McKinsey, based on Gallup data funded by the Gates Foundation, looks into that...
February 21, 2014
There’s a nice post on payday loans by New School professor Lisa Servon on the New Yorker Currency blog this week. She tells the story of Azlinah Tambu, a single mother in Oakland, CA who took out a series of payday loans, knowing she wouldn’t be able to pay them back on time and will end up repaying far more than she borrows. There’s no question Tambu is as informed a consumer of these types of loans as you could find: she has worked as a teller for a...
February 18, 2014
This week’s New and Noteworthy includes results of an RCT on behavioral economics and savings, an in-depth look at legal procedures for debt collection, and a review of new cash transfer research in sub-Saharan Africa.A new report from Dean Karlan of Innovations for Poverty Action (and an FAI co-founder) discusses the role of nonprofit organizations in fostering financial inclusion. Karlan highlights innovations in microfinance delivery, draws attention to financially...
February 11, 2014
Today The New York Times features a perspective from Shaila Dewan on the importance of credit and saving in the lives of the poor. Dewan highlights that life without credit can be expensive and severly limiting in terms of accessing housing and other services or dealing with emergencies. She also notes that savings and credit are interconnected and quotes FAI's Jonathan Morduch on his own observations of the relationship between this activities from his research in Bangladesh:
From a behavioral-economics perspective, borrowing can actually be...
February 7, 2014
In this week’s New and Noteworthy, we highlight responses to the USPS’ white paper on providing financial services, the impact of small dollar fees on the US health care system, and a new publication projecting the potential for digital payment markets in Africa.A new McKinsey & Co. publication shows the gap between current levels of payment digitization and what levels in other African countries would look...
February 6, 2014
The Taylors overdraft their checking account every two weeks, on purpose.
As described in a recent issue brief published by the U.S. Financial Diaries, the Taylor family’s income level varies significantly from month to month. Sometimes it’s not enough to cover all of their expenses. So, they opened an account at a bank with a simple overdraft fee structure: One $35 charge per overdraft, no daily fees, and an allowance of up to $500 at a time. Since...
January 31, 2014
This week’s New and Noteworthy includes resources to help distinguish between e-money and Bitcoin, find out more about the US Postal Service’s possible expansion of financial services, and explore the impact of the financial crisis on banking behavior in the US.A new paper from Una Okonkwo Osili and Anna Paulson show that individuals who have experienced a banking crisis are 11 percentage points less likely to use banks in the US than their peers who emigrated from the same...