Mobile Phones Foster Financial & Economic Inclusion

Apple confirmed yesterday Sept 9 2014 its unsurpassed ability to address the high end smartphone market with the introduction of the iPhone 6 and Applepay.

While there may be 25M people in the US whose contracts are up for renewal and who will jump at (or rather wait in line for) the opportunity to buy a new iPhone, there is a larger number of people for whom a smartphone means a lot more than a 25% gain in screen size or processing power.
They are the economically and financially under-served, or even the excluded.

Two government agencies have published whitepapers about the positive impact of mobile phones on economic and financial inclusion:
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Mobile Financial Services Article

FDIC White Paper On Economic Inclusion Via Mobile Phones

  • The FDIC published earlier this year a study assessing the potential impact on economic inclusion of financial services delivered by mobile phone
  • The Federal Bank of Boston just published an article by Elisa Tavilla about expanding financial access an inclusion with mobile financial services.

Download the documents by clicking on the cover pictures.

Both documents point to a promising and positive influence of mobile phones on fostering economic and financial inclusion. The anticipated “Haves versus Have Nots” problem with access to technology does not actually come into play here because under-served people use more smartphones than the average US population.

It is now up to the banking industry to leverage the unexpected penetration of smartphones and the expected positive influence they will have on helping people climb the financial inclusion ladder.

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