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Mobile Banking: Transforming Lives for the Better

Published 01/01/1970 by Global Communities

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]A tablet may be a small device, but for women in Jaipur, India, it’s become a powerful one. PCI, along with Planned Social Concern and Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative, have successfully launched ‘Micro Lekha,’ a tablet application that allows women in Jaipur to quickly enroll for business loans. These business loans, given out by a local microfinance institution (MFI), empower women socially and economically, even lifting them out of poverty.[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][mk_content_box heading=”What is a Microfinance Institution?”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Much like how banks give out large loans to customers wishing to buy a house, microfinance institutions give out small loans (~$200-$300) to individuals or a small group. Typically, microfinance customers use their loan to jump-start a new business or provide financial support for an existing one. The goal of a microfinance institution is to provide financial services, like credit and savings, to people who previously could not access such things.[/vc_column_text][/mk_content_box][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Representatives, or loan officers, from the MFI use Micro Lekha to enroll women in a business loan program and keep track of their personal information. Previously, loan officers would have to carry bulky paper documents to certify women for business loans. No, with just a handheld tablet, they can quickly collect the necessary personal information. The application has proven to be a success, as over 20 loans officers have used Micro Lekha to enroll over 6,000 female customers.[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Recently, The Gates Foundation recognized the power of mobile technology and banking, claiming that “in the next 15 years digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives.” The poor will no longer lack access to financial services. Payments, savings, and transactions will all take place on a small handheld phone.

However, equal access to mobile phones is an important step in the growth of mobile banking. In India, only 28% of women own a cell phone, compared with 40% of men. In order to provide equal access to mobile banking for those living in poverty, there must all be a cell phone in men and women’s hands.[/vc_column_text][mk_image src=”” image_width=”600″ image_height=”326″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”center” margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Already, Micro Lekha is ensuring that women in India have access to mobile banking and cell phones. Women in the program can stay up-to-date on their loan through texts to their mobile device. When they make a loan payment, they receive a text confirming the successful payment. Provided with this ground-breaking tool in mobile technology, these empowered women have the ability to transform their lives.

As more microfinance institutions rely on accessible mobile technology, many women will have access to live-changing financial services for the first time in their lives.

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