India - Doorstep Banking combined with Financial Education

SUMMARY INFORMATION

  • PROJECT TITLE: Impact Evaluation of the FINO Financial Education Program
  • TARGET SEGMENT: Low-income households in Uttar Pradesh primarily employed in the informal economy
  • DELIVERY CHANNEL: Formal financial education (one-to-one and classroom based)
  • EVALUATION TEAM: Leopold Sarr (World Bank), Dr. Nathan Fiala (German Institute for Economic Research), Dr. Santadarshan Sadhu (Institute for Financial Management Research- Centre for Microfinance)
  • PARTNERS: Financial Information Network & Operations, Ltd (FINO); Institute for Financial Management and Research-Centre for Micro Finance (IFMR, CMF)
  • TIMELINE: November 2010 - June 2012

PROJECT SNAPSHOT

In partnership with the World Bank evaluation team, FINO, a “doorstep banking” firm, has developed and implemented a pilot financial education program to support the increased use of FINO’s smart card as a mechanism to encourage and facilitate saving. The financial education program focuses on teaching the knowledge and skills required to adopt good money management practices for budgeting, spending, and saving. Participants in the financial education program are expect to be equipped with the information and tools necessary to make better financial choices, work towards their financial goals, and enhance their economic well-being.

This study is aimed at measuring the impact of the FINO financial education program on the participants’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior related to personal financial management and overall financial well-being. One of the innovations of the FINO financial education program is that it will examine how people interact with the technology that facilitates their access to bank services, in this case, the FINO smart card and the Point of Transaction (POT) of the Business Correspondents (BCs). Research shows that one of the barriers to the uptake and use of branchless banking in many developing countries is the low levels of familiarity and trust with the technology behind electronic cards and mobile phone banking among the poor. The FINO financial education program will therefore seek to add to individual’s financial literacy as well as address the gaps in the operational knowledge and skills in conducting smart card transactions, as well as strengthen trust.

The present research ultimately looks to develop a more precise understanding of the financial literacy levels of the low-income populations of India and the extent to which that is a barrier and/or facilitator of their personal financial management in conjunction with doorstep banking. The results are expected to inform researchers and policy makers regarding whether providing financial education in conjunction with financial access, all developed in an environment that is familiar and comfortable for the participants, is an effective approach to improving savings and inducing sound financial management among the unbanked poor.

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