Do Basic Savings Accounts Help the Poor to Save? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nepal

Recent studies have shown that the majority of the poor lack access to formal banking services of any kind (Banerjee and Duflo (2007), Collins et al. (2009)) and have emphasized the importance of enabling savings. A simple savings account was randomly offered to poor female household heads through local bank-branches in 17 slums in Nepal. 81% of the individuals offered the account took it up and 78% used it actively. Account holders made on average one deposit per week, saving about 9% of their weekly income and, within the first four months of opening the account made one withdrawal half the size of their weekly income. Access to the savings account increased monetary assets by 40% without causing any crowding out in other kind of assets. If anything, being offered the account had a positive and significant impact on ROSCA's contributions and overall value of animal stock.

Prina (2012)


Peri-urban: Pokhara.RCT.Flexible savings accounts were provided with no opening, deposit or withdrawal fees to female-headed households.Total household assets increased in the treatment group (including an increase of 50% in monetary assets) after one year, with larger effects observed in lower and middle pre-intervention asset groups.;jsessionid=6DB56944A67F254EC20860CAE63603...Female-headed households in 19 slums.