Using Mobile Banking Services to Improve Financial Access for the Poor: Lessons from Kenya, the Philippines, the United States, Haiti, and India

  • Kanika Metre
Keywords: mobile banking, financial access, developing countries, microfinance, low-income populations


As the number of mobile phone subscriptions has rapidly expanded in developing countries, so too has the use of mobile phones to facilitate small-scale financial transactions around the world. Microfinance experts have recognized these mobile banking services as a means for expanding access to financial services among poor and low-income populations. Innovations over the past few years have proven that mobile network operators and banks can cooperate to create successful business models for mobile banking services. Recognizing this success, this paper further explores the ways in which private sector, public sector, and non-profit sector actors can and should collaborate to meet the financial service needs of the poor through innovations in mobile banking. Case studies from Kenya, the Philippines, the United States, Haiti, and India provide relevant lessons on how these collaborations have succeeded or failed in the past.

Author Biography

Kanika Metre
Kanika Metre is a second year Master of Public Administration student at The George Washington University, concentrating in international development management. She earned a BA in 2009 from The George Washington University in international affairs and women’s studies. She currently works as a graduate teaching assistant for the Elizabeth J. Somers Women’s Leadership Program in international arts and culture. While a student at The George Washington University, she has also held internships with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, ACCION International, International Relief & Development, and the United Nations Development Programme. Following her graduation in May, she will begin a year-long internship in Indonesia as a 2011-2012 Luce Scholar.