According to a survey , nearly 50 per cent of the women preferred depositing money in formal banks and almost 72 per cent in rural banking institutions. The findings showed that occupation is the single- largest determinant of how frequently households use bank accounts or have zero-balance accounts.
“Women are important agents of change when it comes to engaging with formal banking channels. Nearly 48 per cent of women preferred depositing money in formal banks and 72 per cent in rural banking institutions compared to men who preferred to keep their money at home,” according to the survey titled “Decoding bank account usage by low income segments: Placing reality in digital ecosystem”.
It was released today by Grameen Foundation India, J P Morgan and the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). The survey was based on a study on 25,000 people in rural Uttar Pradesh and Delhi/National Capital Region.
When women access financial services, investments in child education and health tend to rise; households save more and cope better during times of distress, said J P Morgan head (global philanthropy), Maneesha Chadha.
“Women can drive digital financial inclusion provided the services offered are straightforward and supported by training,” she said. Although women were less likely than men to own a bank account or a mobile phone, when women did have access to digital financial services, they more actively sought out information to guide their financial decisions, it showed.
“This was especially true in rural areas, where 57 per cent of women mentioned seeking updates beyond usual banking transactions such as withdrawals and deposits, but only 40 per cent of men did so.” Of the people surveyed, one-third of bank accounts had no transaction in the past three months, and one-fifth had none in the past six months.
The finding showed relative to those unemployed and individuals self-employed in agricultural labour were three times as likely to opt for a regular savings account.
Overall, more than two-thirds of the primary earners of village households owned a bank account. But their product choices sometimes worked against achieving their economic needs, the survey said.
Individuals working through the governments rural job scheme MNREGA were 75 per cent more likely than non-MNREGA workers to open a banking account under a popular government initiative, PMJDY (Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana).
It said digital financial services have the potential to overcome some of the biggest barriers to financial inclusion, including limited financial literacy, transaction costs and access to financial services.