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Money, Decisions, and Control. Building Digital Financial Services That Help Poor Customers Cope and Strategize

Beyond payments, finance is also about day-to-day money management, decision-making, and coping strategies that end in individual payments and transactions. We are beginning to see new digital tools, such as Flexipay and MChanga, that help low-income customers leverage social networks to bridge temporary gaps in cash flows. Other services, such as Paygo Solar, leverage digital payments to more effectively deliver other value-added services, such as solar home systems, to low-income customers living in remote areas (Waldron 2016). To generate greater use of financial services among low-income customers, DFS providers need to build services that support financial decision-making (help me focus and prioritize) and day-to-day money management (help me adjust and cope).

This paper explores what are financial decision-making, coping strategies, and money management are about and how this can influence DFS providers to provide appropriate products and support.

Ignacio Mas
Ignacio Mas is a Senior Fellow at CEME at the Fletcher School. He has been deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has held senior telecoms jobs at Vodafone and Intel, and has been adjunct professor at the Business School at the University of Chicago. He holds a SB degree from MIT and a PhD from Harvard.

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