In continuation with FIS’ financial literacy and inclusion efforts, Shrihari Bhat, Group Managing Director, FIS APAC distributed smart phones to the urban poor in Ghatkopar, Central Mumbai. This was in association with the charity institution- Swadhaar Finaccess.
The project was targeted to help the urban poor- chauffeurs, maids, daily wage workers or unskilled laborers who stay in the city. Funding their daily needs is a common challenge for them. They do have sources of income, however have no way to track their expenses. While some of them track expenses using pen and paper, its not very effective. It’s very common for them to take petty loans from friends and family and lose track of repaying back. They may also pawn items with local moneylenders and have no awareness of the interest charged.
Swadhaar had developed an Android based Money Management App which helps the poor track their income and expenses. They had a visual and intuitive interface, developed specially for semi-literate people. One needs to input income from various sources such as from every earning member of the family and also input expenses , categorized under heads such as rent, education, bills, groceries, shopping etc. They can also keep track of loans taken,rates charged and the interest that needs to be paid back to the lender. One can also set expense goals- such as festive shopping and the app can show progress towards achieving the goal.
While, the app was a brilliant idea, there were a couple of issues. The urban poor did not have smart phones. Secondly the target audience was semi literate having an inherent fear of using technology.
FIS stepped in and approved distribution of low cost smart phones, that would do the trick. FIS also distributed tablets to Swadhaar trainers who could use it for training these users.
While distributing these phones at the center in Mumbai, Shrihari said “Technology has wide reach and usage. Its an opportune moment where we could harness the use of this technology to overcome daily challenges that we have. While organizations such as Swadhaar and FIS will come together to help; prosperity depends upon the financial literacy and awareness of the users and how they can harness this knowledge to overcome hurdles in life.”
Shrihari went on to explain new technology concepts like mobile wallets also encouraged users against any fear in using the phones. The money is not in the phones and their wealth is secure even in the extreme cases of the phones getting misplaced.
While the users were extremely happy getting new phones, Swadhaar team thanked Shrihari for the continued support.
As long as these items are put to good use, FIS would always support using technology for financial literacy and inclusion.