Beyond the Buzz: The Allure and Challenge of Using Mobile Phones To Increase Youth Financial Inclusion

Recommendations for leveraging mobile technology to reach low-income youth

By reviewing the current, yet limited, research on and experience with mobile solutions for youth financial inclusion, this paper illustrates the opportunities and challenges of using mobile technology to reach low-income youth in developing countries with financial products, services, or interventions that enable their financial access or capability.

The paper first surveys trends in financial inclusion and mobile access and usage among youth in the developing world, and outlines how mobile phones can help achieve youth financial inclusion goals. It then explores a range of perspectives and experiences from the financial inclusion field on the subject. Reflecting on the dearth of evidence and practice - particularly relative to industry enthusiasm for such solutions - the authors highlight challenges to expanding youth financial access and capability through mobile phones. Finally, they offer initial recommendations on how to create the enabling environment necessary to leverage mobile technology to reach low-income youth with financial products and services in the developing world.

About this Publication

By Zimmerman, J., Nowak, L., Carls, E., Arnold, J. & Rao, V.