Haiti Mobile Money in Haiti: A Baseline Analysis


Mobile Money in Haiti: A Baseline Analysis

This report presents the findings of a baseline survey of 1,008 Haitian adults (age 18+) conducted in March 2011 soon after new m-money services began to be widely marketed in the country.

The purpose of the survey was to provide a frame of reference for measuring the progress and impact of m-money services in general in Haiti, while also providing critical data to stakeholders in the financial access and economic development space. The survey examines respondents’ basic access to and use of financial services, mobile communications and mobile money services (m-money).

 

Full Report (pdf)

Report Contents

Executive Summary: major report findings including m-money adoption rates and mechanisms for m-money marketing (see below);

Introduction:
  an overview of the mobile communications and financial markets;

Chapter One Banking and Financial Markets:  general access and use of banking and financial services;

Chapter Two Money Transfer Markets:
survey findings on the importance of domestic money transfers and international remittances;

Chapter Three The Haitian Mobile Money Market:
m-money adtoption trends and demographic profiles of key user groups;

Chapter Four Marketing Mobile Money:
key mechanisms for reaching out to potential m-money adopters;

Technical Notes
    
                                                                                                  

Executive Summary

This report presents the findings of a baseline survey of 1,008 Haitian adults (age 18+) conducted in March 2011 by the Haiti Mobile Money Tracker Project soon after new mobile money (m-money) services were beginning to be widely marketed in the country. The purpose of the survey was to provide a frame of reference for measuring the progress and impact of m-money services in general in Haiti, while also providing critical data to stakeholders in the financial access and economic development space. The survey examines respondents’ basic access to and use of financial services, mobile communications and mobile money services (m-money).

Banking and Financial Markets

Finding a safe place to save or store money was their most commonly stated financial need or behavior. Other financial services such as borrowing money or conducting electronic transactions were far less common, even among those who said they are banked. In addition to the significance of saving money, survey findings highlighted the importance of money transfers, both domestic and international, for supplementing income. The importance of international remittances sent to Haiti from abroad is well documented, as they help thousands of families purchase basic necessities and thus support much of the Haitian economy.

Our survey found that domestic money transfers also play a critical role in Haitian economic life, which bodes well for the potential utility of m-money services. Over half of all survey respondents (56 percent) said they have received at least one domestic transfer in the past year, and about a quarter of respondents said they had sent a money transfer in that time. This generally conforms to the traditional understanding of domestic remittances, where individuals working in urban spaces assist rural family members or friends by sending money to supplement their income.

The survey also revealed a complex set of domestic money transfer routes between various urban and rural populations. Specifically, there is a significant amount of traffic between urban spaces and from urban to rural locations. Some 81 percent of rural domestic transfer recipients said that money sent to them came from an individual residing in Port-au-Prince and/or another city. This generally conforms to the traditional understanding of domestic remittances, where individuals working in urban spaces assist rural family members or friends by sending money to supplement their income. A majority of urban domestic recipients of money transfers (61 percent) also receive money from urban counterparts.

Frequent money senders and recipients appear to be primary target groups for m-money providers. Indeed, the adoption rate of m-money services among those who send money “about once a month” was 40 percent at the time of the survey, versus 28 percent for those who send money only once every three to six months. By comparison, only 4 percent of respondents who receive a money transfer at least once a month have actually signed up for such a service, revealing a large gap in key target groups for those interested in seeing m-money act as a financial inclusion tool.

The amounts of money an individual typically sends or receives may be a determining factor of which m-money service they would find useful. Overall, about half of all money senders said they send an average of HTG1500 (US$37) or less, fitting within the transaction limits of both Haitian m-money providers. Another 30 percent send between HTG1500 to 3000 on average, which can be accommodated by TchoTcho and T-Cash’s full-wallet service.

Of the small percentage of money transfer users who conduct only domestic transfers, a large majority said they only send or receive HTG3000 or less per transfer. In fact, some 56 percent of domestic-only senders and 46 percent of domestic-only recipients only average HTG1500 or less per transfer. Though these individuals only make up a statistical minority within our survey sample, the finding is an indication that the typical money transfer being conducted domestically in Haiti fits the monetary parameters for m-money services.

Mobile Money Market

Mobile money services enjoy a very high level of awareness throughout the country. Some 80 percent of those surveyed said they had heard of such services and more than 70 percent of respondents could correctly identify which mobile service providers offer m-money products. However, this high level of awareness, to be discussed in more detail later, had not necessarily been converted into knowledge of what m-money services offer, at least at the time of the survey.

Among those who have not heard of m-money, 68 percent reside in rural areas and 49 percent live in low-income (Tier 1) households. These groups likely have the least amount of access to mass media and are also less likely to engage with potential mobile phone service and m-money agents.

The high level of awareness of m-money was registered despite only four months having passed between the launch of m-money services in Haiti and the survey fieldwork in March 2011. What’s more, close to one in 10 survey respondents said they had signed up for an m-money service by then.

These early adopters of mobile money tended to be relatively affluent, currently employed and better educated, implying that these services had not yet begun to filter through to the less privileged. Sixty percent of those who have signed up for m-money had either a secondary or post-secondary education. Only 1 percent of m-money users had either no formal education or a primary education, whereas this group encompasses 25 percent of the entire survey sample. M-money users were also much more likely to reside in areas within and around Port-au-Prince, where providers have concentrated their marketing and outreach efforts.

Significantly, men (9.8 percent) and women (9.7 percent) were equally likely to have signed up for m-money services. Men and women were also equally likely to own a phone or use a mobile phone at least daily or weekly.

Mobile Money Activities

Forty percent of early adopters said they use a m-money service at least once a week; about one third of early adopters said they are sending money to others more often since they began using such services. However, when asked how frequently they thought they would use the service in the future, few said they would increase their rates of use going forward.

The survey found that the two most popular activities among m-money users are storing/saving money and withdrawing money, followed by sending and receiving money, which parallels studies recently conducted by researchers at the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion. They found that m-money users would use so-called “Me2Me transactions” to store money and withdraw it at different geographical locations. These transactions help alleviate “problems of insecurity, inaccessible infrastructure, and uncertainties that Haitians face in their daily lives”.

Marketing Mobile Money

There is great opportunity for m-money to continue to spread beyond the market’s more privileged early adopters. In fact, 83 percent of adult respondents said they would use a mobile phone to send or receive money in the future. But in order to get people to use m-money services, they need to know such services exist and how the services can be of use to them.

Mobile money agents are a key part of outreach campaigns, since they determine the customer experience, which informs effective marketing and customers' knowledge of the service. Without a properly trained m-money agent network, convincing prospective customers of the advantages of m-money and building trust will be a challenge.

Generally, respondents had a positive impression of their experiences with m-money agents, with 83 percent describing it as very or somewhat favorable. However, when asked more specific questions about their experiences, the respondents tended to expressed less favorable impressions. For example, a large majority reported that agents were not helpful during sign up and lacked knowledge about the services.

Potential customers also need to be able to trust the providers of such services, given that m-money is a financial product. Survey findings indicate that mobile network providers already enjoy a relatively high level of trust among Haitians relative to other potential sources of information about financial products and services. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they trust either “somewhat”, “much” or “very much” mobile network providers. These numbers are higher than those received by government and international institutions.

Non-users of mobile money were asked to provide the main reason or reasons they have not done so. The most mentioned reason was not having access to a mobile money outlet (21 percent) followed by not having heard of m-money (12 percent) and not having knowledge of how to conduct m-money services (12 percent). The array of responses generally fell into two broad categories: a lack of knowledge and/or lack of access, with the former providing a real opportunity for m-money service providers.

In some ways, these findings correlate with what respondents listed as factors which would persuade them to use m-money. A large majority cited the need for further information about the service. When asked which particular services they would like m-money providers to offer, non-users essentially listed services that are already provided. This also highlighted the knowledge factor in the marketing equation, as these respondents evidently were not aware of the range of services from Tcho Tcho and T-Cash.

That said, nearly three-quarters of m-money non-users said that it is very likely (29 percent) or somewhat likely (43 percent) that they will sign up for a service in the future.

In marketing M-money, mass media has strong influence but so do word-of-mouth networks. Though these networks are challenging to tap into, they are powerful tools for spreading important information - even financial information. When respondents were asked to spontaneously list who or what provided the best advice about financial information, friends and family (29 percent of respondents) trailed only banks and bankers (44 percent) in those cited, with mass media scarcely mentioned at all.

Another group of individuals whom service providers may be able to tap into are m-money adopters themselves. Some 61 percent of current m-money users said they were already recommending the services to others at least once a week. Survey findings showed a majority of non-users cited having another family member as an m-money user as a key persuading factor for the adoption of m-money.

M-Money can also assist with the most common financial topics and services that Haitians would like more information about (new ways to save, manage their money, and transfer money). Service providers must be able to use their network agents, potentially “intermediaries” and current users to educate prospective customers about how m-money can meet their needs and financial concerns.

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