People save in many different ways - through bank accounts, savings groups or other informal mechanisms - and for many different reasons, whether it’s saving up for a future expense, income smoothing or a cushion for emergencies. But everybody needs a way to save, regardless of their income level. People at the bottom of the pyramid, with low and irregular incomes, especially need a safe place to save to help reduce their vulnerability. 

Savings groups provide that safe space for many poor people around the world, especially for women. Rotating Savings and Credit groups (ROSCAs), Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) and Self-Help Groups are all types of informal groups which help their members save and manage finances. Emerging evidence shows that they support members’ financial health in important ways, such as building confidence and resilience to shocks.

While formal savings accounts have historically been a less common way for poor people to save, they are growing. According to the Global Findex Database, 2021 was the first year in which formal accounts became the most common way for people in developing countries to save, reaching over half of those who saved any money. Mobile money and other types of digital financial services are helping to make it easier and more affordable for financial service providers to offer small balance savings and reach more remote populations. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 15 percent of adults saved using a mobile money account in 2021. 

Unfortunately, only 42 percent of adults in developing economies reported saving any money in 2021. More work still needs to be done to support low-income populations to meet their savings needs.

What can you find in this Topic Hub?

Curated by FinDev editors, this Topic Hub offers you access to key resources on the topic of savings for financial inclusion, including:

  • Our latest blogs and publications on savings contributed by organizations around the world.
  • Any upcoming webinars, events and recent news on this topic.
  • Resources on fundamentals (listed above on the right) where you can learn more, including answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about savings, a glossary of savings terms, a list of recommended reading on the topic, and a guide to web resources and organizations working on this topic.

Some of the resources in this Topic Hub were developed or shared by the Mastercard Foundation Savings Learning Lab, implemented by Itad.

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Paper

This note presents the innovation drivers and competencies as key to developing innovative financial services that meet customer needs.

Paper

This paper highlights three different business models, including key revenues and costs drivers, to help understand the market potential of various low-income segments.

Case Study

This LAPO Microfinance Bank case study shares lessons from their experience in developing and implementing a change management program to underpin its launch of a savings product.

News & Events

The latest news and upcoming events and training from the global financial inclusion community on this topic.