InterMedia is providing critical knowledge to stakeholders in the burgeoning fields of financial inclusion and mobile money. Throughout the developing world, many people at the bottom of the pyramid lack safe, convenient and affordable ways to manage their money. As mobile devices become nearly ubiquitous, even in the poorest countries of the world, there is an opportunity to provide remote access to instruments for saving and transferring funds, purchasing insurance products, and paying for goods and services.
New tools such as mobile money are starting to fill the cash management gap, but there is much left to learn about the poor’s financial needs and the best ways to meet them. Through innovative ground-level research in Africa, Asia and Haiti with leading players in the financial inclusion field, InterMedia is identifying barriers to financial access and the dynamics of mobile money uptake and use at the consumer level.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Since 2010, InterMedia has partnered with the Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor initiative on a range of projects aimed at understanding the consumer experience in financial inclusion and mobile money. Below are a few examples of our work:
Financial Inclusion Tracker Surveys (FITS)
FITS is a three-year study in Uganda, Tanzania and Pakistan aimed at monitoring citizens’ access to financial services. In particular, FITS is exploring the uptake, use, and impact of mobile money services. The project uses annual panel-type household surveys in each country, yielding data to analyze the relationship between household financial behavior and use of mobile money. There is a special focus with respect to how households manage economic shocks. The results will be shared with a range of mobile money stakeholders, with the goal of improving services. Learn more.
Evaluation of Financial Inclusion Grantees
InterMedia worked with Bankable Frontier Associates on a multiyear evaluation of grantee financial institutions that target bottom-of-the-pyramid individuals in Malawi, the DRC, and Peru. The project covered a range of financial service delivery models, including mobile money, banks on wheels and bricks-and-mortar branch banking.
Tanzania Mobile Money Tracker (TMMT)
This multi-method project is tracking usage and uptake of mobile money services in Tanzania, with a view toward identifying barriers to consumer adoption, obstacles and incentives for use, and how and why different market segments use mobile money. InterMedia is producing quarterly tracking reports based on data from nationally representative surveys, consumer focus groups, interviews with mobile money agents, and “mystery shopping” trips to agent outlets. This data provides a 360-degree view on the consumer experience. The results are being used by mobile operators, regulators, funders, and others with a stake in advancing mobile money in Tanzania. Learn more.
USAID – The Haiti HIFIVE Project
In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti in early 2010, donors saw an urgent need to provide Haitians with safe, convenient ways to manage their cash. This was especially critical given the destruction of a number of bank branches in the quake. USAID’s Haiti Integrated Finance for Value Chains and Enterprises (HIFIVE) project took on the task of spurring the development of mobile money services, in partnership with the Gates Foundation, in the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative. InterMedia’s work in this effort includes:
Haiti Mobile Money Baseline Analysis
In early 2011, InterMedia conducted a survey in Haiti shortly after the launch of the country’s first mobile money services. The survey data and an analytical report based on the survey provided early intelligence on market dynamics for mobile money in Haiti, and identified both challenges and areas of potential growth. The survey informed the ongoing work of the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative.
Haiti Mobile Money Relaunch Study
In mid-2012, changes in the telecommunications landscape in Haiti opened an opportunity to reinvigorate growth in mobile money services. Through a combination of survey and qualitative research, InterMedia is providing strategic intelligence to inform commercial and marketing strategies of mobile operators and the activities of funders to spur use of mobile money by relief organizations.