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Abstract

This study provides a micro perspective on the impact that mobile money services have on an individual’s saving behavior using 2013 Uganda FinScope data. The results show that although saving through mobile phones is not a common practice in Uganda, being a registered mobile money user increases the likelihood of saving with mobile money. Using mobile money to save is more prevalent in urban areas and in the central region than in other regions. This can be explained by several factors. First, rural dwellers on average tend to have lower incomes and thus have a lower propensity to save compared with their urban counterparts. Second, poor infrastructure in rural areas in terms of the lack of electricity and poor telecommunication network coverage may limit the use of mobile phones and consequently the use of mobile money as a saving mechanism. Overall, the use of mobile money as a saving mechanism is still very low, which could be partly explained by legal limitations that do not incorporate mobile finance services into mobile money. The absence of interest payments on mobile money savings may also act as a disincentive to save through this mechanism. Given the emerging mobile banking services, there is need to create greater awareness and to enhance synergies between telecoms companies and commercial banks.

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