The final book in this series explains the important role that financial service providers play by providing individuals and businesses with opportunities to save and borrow, to smooth cash flows and make significant investments. It also explains that most financial service providers are business people themselves, and they design and sell products with a view to making a profit. Some service providers have been developed by groups of people to help themselves and are not profit oriented. They range from small savings groups to large credit unions.
The main aim of this book is to enable people who have had no experience of formal financial service providers to understand how to use these organisations. For example, it explains what to expect inside a bank, how to open an account, what an ATM is, how a credit union differs from a bank and so on. Using mobile phones to manage money and the role of microfinance institutions are also discussed.
The next section reviews the different types of financial products that may be offered by financial institutions such as deposit accounts, current accounts and loans. The importance of checking all the features and conditions relating to these products is emphasised, particularly how interest is calculated on a loan. The final section highlights a number of security issues relating to financial services and emphasises the importance of debt management.