People with low incomes have shown that they want and need savings and deposit accounts, and those that have access to them can use them well. However, servicing numerous small savings accounts is costly for financial institutions. Instead of using formal services, people often keep their savings somewhere in their home, place money with friends or family for safekeeping, invest in livestock or goods, or join a savings group. Informal savings play an important role in many people’s lives, although these channels can be riskier than formal savings accounts.

Technology, such as mobile transactions, automatic teller machines, and agent networks, is helping to reduce the cost of collecting and servicing small deposit accounts. Banks are spared the obligation to directly service these small accounts, which makes them more cost effective for both client and provider.

In conjunction with better services through new channels, more research is needed to develop and market better tailored products and services. People want to save for their children’s education, to improve their communities, to cope with death and disaster, and to make themselves less vulnerable to unpredictable shocks. Providers need to better understand why and how people save and then develop products tailored to their 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.

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Paper

This publication examines the challenges of finding and using data in African countries and takes the examples of three financial service providers who are already reaping the benefits of a transition to data-driven, customer-centric operations and product portfolios.

Paper

This meta-study explores findings from the savings literature that relate to the key elements used to define financial health, and explores whether they indicate that savings contribute to financial health.

Paper

This report provides a research summary of two impact evaluations looking at VisionFund´s FAST program – lending to savings groups, to determine if it accomplished its main program objectives.

News & Events

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