Financial inclusion policy has been ignited globally by the rise of money transfer services over mobile phones led by the example of Kenya. This paper examines the financial practices of low income people and the social relational dimensions of debt that underlie these transactions, and contrasts these with widely used services of informal groups and banks services. This highlights a ‘fiduciary culture’ where relationships of equality and ‘negotiability’ dominate in contrast to a tendency towards hierarchical relations with banks. This questions policy-makers’ expectations that mobile money transfer will seamlessly facilitate engagement with the formal sector for savings and credit.
- microfinance, mobile money, financial inclusion, financial practices, Kenya, Africa