Mostly rural and dependent on casual labor and farming, many Pakistanis struggle financially due in part to low and volatile incomes and large family sizes. Many have limited education, and most are infrequent users of digital and mobile technology. Pakistanis rely heavily on family for financial management, including saving, borrowing, and insuring.
Very few use formal financial services and most find financial services complex and confusing, suggesting formal providers need to improve their underlying value proposition and customer experience for their products to resonate with the mass market.
Pakistanis have relatively low levels of education, with 38% of the population reporting no schooling at all. The country also has large family sizes on average, with 6.8 members. Given that a plurality of Pakistanis rely on casual labor and temporary sources of income (30%), the income volatility experienced by over half of the population is unsurprising. Fifty-two percent of Pakistanis cannot predict how much they will earn each day.
Most Pakistanis are very vulnerable to financial shocks. Fifty-seven percent report they wouldn’t be able to come up with money for a major financial emergency and nearly one-third are burdened with large ongoing medical expenses. These financial challenges likely inhibit many Pakistanis’ ability to save; 70% say they do not make enough money to to save and 30% never save at all.
Formal Financial Services
Most Pakistanis are not well integrated into the formal financial system; 66% of the population finds financial services complex and confusing with just 18% having an account at a bank or other formal financial institution; self-identifying as a spouse is correlated with low rates of saving through banks, and women save with banks at significantly lower rates than men. While most Pakistanis trust banks – and those who trust banks are more likely to save with them – many Pakistanis may believe their products and services don’t meet their needs. Thirty-six percent believe that banks do their best to offer affordable costs and terms to their customers (compared to a cross-country average of 51%), and only 37% would feel comfortable taking a loan out from a bank.
Many Pakistanis are cut off technologically, with 90% of the population never using computers, 85% never using internet, and only 24% with access to smart phones. These challenges likely contribute to very low mobile money access in the country; just 5% of the population reports having a mobile money account. However, having a larger social network is correlated with greater mobile money account access, suggesting there are possible opportunities for expanding mobile money access via well-connected and tech-savvy Pakistanis.