As novel approaches to banking evolve in the developing world, branchless banking seems set to empower women. Traditionally, women have been excluded from the formal banking sector in some areas of the world. When it comes to women and money, World Bank suggests, branchless banking could be the great equaliser.
“Cash is a disadvantage to the poor….It doesn’t earn interest, it can be stolen — it’s even unhygienic. Digital money is better in just about every way.”
In terms of the health of the family, giving women more control over the family’s funds can lead to more responsible spending as well. Healthcare, education, and nutrition are areas women prioritise with their funds that men may not consider. With branchless banking, there is potential to enable women to more effectively save for future expenses regarding the health and wellness of their dependents.
As cell phone ownership increases throughout the developing world, women will have more opportunity to engage in branchless banking. A pilot project in South Africa uses Vumi, a mobile savings platform to encourage girls to save money through their cell phones. World Bank predicts that involving women in the finances of communities can only help lend stability and responsibility to markets throughout the globe.