A grocery shop owner becoming the local banker (photo Vincent Somville).

In India, a significant proportion of the households, especially in rural areas, are outside the coverage of the formal banking system. But recent advances in mobile technology provide an opportunity to easily expand the access to formal financial services. People can use mobile phones to save, transfer money to other users and receive payments from the Government.

Together with our partner Basix Sub-K, we set-up various randomized controled trials that allow us to address major gaps in research on the financial lives of the poor, such as the interactions between formal and informal financial institutions, saving behaviour and the effects of cash versus electronic payments on household finances.