Research on the impact of financial services on the lives of low-income people provides valuable insights. However, these studies tend to focus on microcredit or a single financial product, such as savings or mobile money. As a result, an overly simplistic and product-focused story has emerged. Recognizing the need for a more nuanced and clearer impact narrative, this Focus Note from CGAP synthesizes evidence since 2014 and highlights three overarching insights:
- Financial services improve resilience both by facilitating recovery from shocks and encouraging investments that are riskier but potentially more profitable in the longer term.
- Women’s control and ownership of financial services can improve their bargaining power in the household and enable positive outcomes, such as increasing their participation in the labor force.
- Emerging evidence suggests that financial inclusion can contribute to increased economic growth and reduced poverty.