New Mobile Savings Product Launches in Tanzania

tanzania mobile savings as part of microfinance

More than two-thirds of Tanzanians still live in rural areas. But only 37% of these adults live within three miles of a bank branch or other financial services. It is no surprise then that just 8% of Tanzanians hold a formal bank account.

To help dramatically scale the reach of financial services, FINCA recently partnered with Halotel, a mobile network operator. Together, we launched HaloYako, a first of its kind mobile savings product.

With a free account, FINCA clients in Tanzania can now conveniently and securely save money to a mobile wallet. They can even set savings targets – like paying for their children’s education – to encourage a behavior of saving. As clients achieve their financial goals, they will earn free mobile airtime for making calls or sending text messages.

FINCA, in partnership with Halotel, is also running a product awareness campaign to underscore the importance of saving, its benefits to low-income business owners and to educate clients on how the new technology works.

Women like Salama Msumi are already benefitting. After receiving hands-on training with a HaloYako community mobilizer, Salama opened an account and is using the platform to set aside future investments for her small business. Now Salama can be counted among the world’s financially included, thanks to the power of easy-to-use and convenient banking app in the palm of her hand.

“It took FINCA 20 years to reach 900,000 clients,” says Issa Ngwegwe, Managing Director of FINCA Tanzania.

In two weeks of launching HaloYako, 30,000 people have opened accounts. This goes to show how financial technology plays a critical role in lowering transaction costs and expanding access to financial services.