Financial Inclusion: Technology’s Role in Accessing Financial Services

woman holding mobile phone
27 November 2018

Mercy Corps explores how technology can help the poor, refugees, women, youth and other marginalided populations access vital financial services that can improve their lives and their future.

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In recent years, one of the most promising correlations for humanitarian and development work has been the relationship between access to financial services and poverty alleviation. In countries like Kenya and India, widespread access to formal financial services seems to be correlated to significant declines in extreme poverty. What exactly that relationship is and how practitioners can best unlock the value of financial services for those at the bottom of the financial pyramid is a question that deserves a lot of exploration and debate but has potentially massive ramifications for improving the lives of the most destitute.

This series of reports looks at the efforts to increase financial inclusion in Jordan. Specifically, as a leader in understanding financial inclusion technologies and systems and their impact on vulnerable communities, Mercy Corps is exploring Jordan’s JoMoPay initiative (Jordan Mobile Payments) as a method for increasing financial inclusion and broadening the base of people in the country that can access formal financial services.

Currently, more than 60% of Jordan’s population does not have a bank account or other formal financial services account. JoMoPay Mobile Wallets present an opportunity to include that ‘unbanked’ population in the formal financial sector. But what is the evidence that JoMoPay can positively impact Jordanian households? What are the features of JoMoPay technology and systems that contribute to higher household income? What are the features that are holding Jordanians and other residents back from realising the benefits of financial inclusion?

Through these reports, we explore these questions from a number of different angles, including system-level analysis of motivations for pursuing a Financial Inclusion Strategy in Jordan all the way down to the individual actions taken by mobile wallet users, to understand the impact of mobile technology on financial inclusion in Jordan. These lessons learned can be applied to other contexts seeking to improve lives through the proper application of technology towards financial inclusion.