Show me the (mobile) money!

Smartphones now a key component of Senegalese financial services landscape

A Sagaci Research survey conducted in Senegal during October 2019 found that just a quarter (25%) of respondents had a savings or current account, while less than 1% had an ATM/debit card. A significant gender gap was identified: 29% of male respondents had a bank account, compared to just 20% of women.

Differences in income were also notable but perhaps of less significant than might be expected: Among those with a monthly household income of between USD200 and USD499, 24% had a bank account, compared with 34% of those with a monthly household income of more than USD1,000.

More than half (54%) of respondents had a mobile money account, with an even wider gender gap – 63% of men versus 45% of women. Mobile money was found to be particularly popular among those aged 26-35 years, with almost two thirds (63%) of respondents in this cohort having an account.

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Among those with a mobile money account, almost three quarters (73%) said they used it at least once a week, with 96% using it at least once a month.

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While there was little difference between urban and rural consumers in terms of the proportion that had a bank account (27% versus 23%), the difference for mobile money accounts was more significant (61% among urban consumers versus 48% of rural ones).

The adoption of mobile money has gone hand-in-hand with rising smartphone use: Just over three quarters (76%) of respondents said they had one of these devices, with this figure rising to 84% among those aged 18-25 years. In contrast, a mere 16% of respondents said they used online banking, while 15% used USSD codes (a system designed to facilitate banking transactions on a basic mobile phone) and 12% phone banking.

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