Abstract

The use of mobile and social technologies has been recognized as enhancing financial practices by both academics and multilateral agencies. But these are complex matters and their impacts are not always straightforward. Although much has been written about microcredit, more understandings of such practices are still needed. In this work, we investigate informal credit practices of merchants in the northeast of Brazil. We observe that the informal credit practices are based on a sense of community and personal relationships between merchants and their customers. In learning how community norms are used to support (and sanction) credit practices, we aim at better understanding how to design new financial products and services. We explore insights for this context gathered from fieldwork, discuss research challenges, and show a design concept of a service that aims to digitally enhance microcredit practices.

Keywords:

microfinance; design research; field research; low-income communities; banking

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Design Insights and Opportunities from a Field Study to Digitally Enhance Microcredit Practices in Brazil

The use of mobile and social technologies has been recognized as enhancing financial practices by both academics and multilateral agencies. But these are complex matters and their impacts are not always straightforward. Although much has been written about microcredit, more understandings of such practices are still needed. In this work, we investigate informal credit practices of merchants in the northeast of Brazil. We observe that the informal credit practices are based on a sense of community and personal relationships between merchants and their customers. In learning how community norms are used to support (and sanction) credit practices, we aim at better understanding how to design new financial products and services. We explore insights for this context gathered from fieldwork, discuss research challenges, and show a design concept of a service that aims to digitally enhance microcredit practices.

 

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