By: Alex Reddaway - Technical Writer, Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme
Since Vodafone Fiji launched its M-PAiSA mobile money account in 2010 the number of active accounts has steadily increased each year. For some of those people M-PAiSA is the first formal financial service they’ve used, and for many more it’s the first digital financial service they have used. While this shows an encouraging increase in financial inclusion it raises the question of whether the usage of formal financial instruments is making a real difference in improving people’s lives, let alone how this links to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Impact Pathways methodology was developed to find out whether financial services benefitted users, and to establish whether those benefits contributed towards achieving the SDGs. Visit the Impact Pathways website to learn more about this methodology. By taking a closer look at the human stories behind these numbers we can gain further insights into the specific ways in which they impact individuals and communities.
Thanks to the app, M-PAiSA users can view their balance and transactions list at all times, giving them complete control over their spending. Both Manish and Elsie spoke of the sense of security and being in control that this gives them, resulting in significantly less stress. Numerous studies link financial strain to poor health, as stress can cause a variety of both mental and physical health issues. By reducing stress related to the financial situation of an individual or family, mobile money products can help achieve SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.
Both conversations back up another finding of the Impact Pathways study, that the more features an account has, the more benefits it offers its users. Although the introduction of QR payments may not directly have an impact on the SDGs, but it appears to be driving much wider and more regular usage, expanding the pool of people who will enjoy the benefits of digital financial services.