Johannesburg, South Africa, November 19, 2015
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today published a research study looking at why a large portion of registered users of digital financial services never or only rarely use the service. The phenomenon is observed in many emerging markets, posing a key challenge to the expansion of financial inclusion.
The Mobile Banking Customer That Isn’t: Drivers of Digital Financial Services Inactivity in Côte d’Ivoire
, is based on research in the largest digital financial services market in West Africa, and finds that almost half of all registered users of mobile money accounts in Cote d’Ivoire do not regularly use their accounts. The reasons for this are several, including customers finding the service irrelevant or too costly.
David Crush, IFC Program Manager for the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, said, “Digital financial services have expanded rapidly in recent years, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, extending financial services to many rural and low-income communities that were previously excluded. The challenge now is to make sure products and services are improved to meet the specific needs of new customers.”
The research report was produced by the Partnership for Financial inclusion, a joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to help achieve global Universal Financial Access by 2020.
Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation, said, “The research from Côte d’Ivoire is a wake-up call to all of us working to advance financial inclusion. More than ever, digital financial service providers need to understand early and often what it is that low-income clients need and expect in a mobile money account, and then offer that product or service affordably and conveniently.”
The report makes a number of recommendations based on the research findings, including the need to keep prices of digital financial services low, offer a broad range of products and services that cater to customers with irregular incomes, and to ensure good customer education.
About the Partnership for Financial Inclusion
The Partnership for Financial Inclusion is a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance mobile financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Partnership is also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB, Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG), and collaborates with knowledge partners such as the World Bank and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, CGAP.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit