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“Lost in the Mail” - Why Bank Account Access is not Translating into Usage

“Lost in the Mail” - Why Bank Account Access is not Translating into Usage

March 30 , 2016
Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA - 

The Making Access Possible (MAP) Programme has been running for the last 36 months and as such has started to generate some of the early insights and learning from the cross-country programme. The MAP Global Insights Series attempts to consolidate and synthesize the learning from MAP across the selected pilot countries. The first of the MAP Global Insights products comprises five thematic cross-country Notes, based on the initial round of findings from the country diagnostic studies, which have been conducted in Thailand, Myanmar, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi. This press pack relates specifically to the publication of our fourth of five MAP Global Insight Notes

Note 4 considers the cross country evidence on the gap between ownership and usage of bank accounts. The Note queries whether bank accounts are the appropriate product for increasing customer welfare and argues the need for a paradigm shift away from focusing on ownership to focusing on usage.  The Note questions whether given the fact financial inclusion is about improving consumer welfare, whether bank accounts are necessarily the answer to financial inclusion and if they are not highlights where the answers can possibly lie.

Considering the three main ways that consumers can use bank accounts, namely, 1) transfer of value, 2) liquidity to meet goals and 3) liquidity for financial resilience, the Note seeks to provide an in-depth look and understanding of the extent to which consumers in the six pilot countries are using bank accounts to meet their financial needs as suggested by the prevailing financial inclusion paradigm.  It further suggests the need for a paradigm shift from a focus on increasing access to bank accounts, to one in which usage is the sole indicator.  

Note 4 comes out at point when the global conversation is centered on leveraging data to develop broader knowledge platforms and to encourage data-driven decision making. The newly redesigned MAP website – map.uncdf.org – will serve as the first launching point of all of our new knowledge products and insights. The website will also play host to an open data portal where we will place all of our MAP FinScope datasets for review and use by donors, academics, financial institutions, and the general public. 

The MAP Global Insights Series attempts to consolidate and synthesize the learning from MAP across the selected pilot countries.

For more information, please contact
Kameshnee Naidoo
MAP Programme Manager