Financial InclusionMobile money

The role of mobile wallets for emergency financial inclusion

eservglobal blog on mobile wallet assistance for refugees

“A total of 65.3 million people were displaced at the end of 2015, compared to 59.5 million just 12 months earlier.” – The UN Refugee Agency

Migration rates are increasing, so too are the risks faced by migrants when forcibly displaced from their own societies.  The loss of income and access to funds only exacerbates the severity of their situation.

Cash aid seems the logical option for providing help. It offers freedom of choice on spending and familiarity of procedure, while affording them some dignity over other more limited payment options.  However, transporting cash in certain regions is far from secure and it notoriously disappears along the pipeline through corruption and bribery. Recipients are also an easy prey for thieves and robbers.

So what is the potential role of mobile wallets for those who are forced to migrate?

“A well-designed mobile wallet could open up new opportunities for affected communities and not only improve relief efforts but also offer longer-term access to financial services that can help coping with future negative shocks.”- CGAP

An article by CGAP discusses the benefits of activating emergency mobile wallets in crisis situations.

  1. Recipients are given choice and autonomy with spending behaviour like cash but without the same level of risk
  2. The wallet offers transparency to donors and regulators for monitoring purposes
  3. It integrates with national or donor ID systems to enable faster registration when ID documents are missing
  4. And it can integrate with or link to additional financial and non-financial services for longer term planning

Could mobile wallets be the best solution to help reduce financial implications for those displaced? To read the full article, click here.

Image: Flickr/Global Panorama/Refugees

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