Responsible Finance Forum

Taking Stock: Financial Education Initiatives for the Poor

Source:  The MasterCard Foundation

When people have low levels of financial literacy, they often make unproductive financial decisions: they spend their money in suboptimal ways, borrow too much, save too little, and miss opportunities for investing. By communicating the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with sound money management, financial education can offer these individuals the means to use their scarce financial resources more effectively and to choose the financial services and products that best meet their needs.

The objective of this report is to understand the landscape of financial education programs for low income households, what works in financial education programmes for such households and why. This objective is explored with respect to three research categories: enhancing impact, increasing scale and sustaining access. In terms of enhancing impact, the report explores (on the basis of information already available with case organisations) what improves financial capability and well being for women, youth (both men and women), and their households. The report seeks to understand how financial education programmes can increase scale by examining delivery channels and methods of scaling up. To examine sustainable access, the report seeks to identify market and other solutions to sustain financial education programmes. Finally, the report seeks to explore the interconnections and tradeoffs between enhancing impact, increasing scale and sustaining access for financial education programmes.