Digital financial literacy for socioeconomic inclusion and equity

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Awareness raising and motivation workshop >> Life stories >> Digital services for personal credits and loans

Lina’s Leap: Journey of Growth and Financial Empowerment

Life story based on storytelling

Developed by the Kauno rajono švietimo centras (Lithuania)

About me

My name is Lina. I am 32 years old. I was born to a family of farmers’s in a remote village. I am a primary school teacher. Me parents, although farmers by profession, value education as much as they do the land. Naturally, my decision to become a teacher and remain in my local community is, I guess, deeply rooted in my upbringing and personal values. Growing up in a remote village, I witnessed the disparities in access to quality learning and wanted to make a difference.

My story of using digital financial services

What specific need or situation led you to consider digital financial services?

It all started with necessity and my desire to improve my living conditions. Despite my expertise in using computers for educational purposes as a teacher, there’s been a contrast in my familiarity with the digital financial world, particularly with digital loan services. I became aware of the differences in modern amenities, including banking services, between urban and rural areas. In remote villages digital banking and loan services are not common. And I found myself exploring an area where my expertise was limited. I was initially unfamiliar with digital loan services but wanted to explore this option for obtaining a personal loan to fund a home renovation project.

Before discovering digital loan services, had you tried other traditional banking or loan options? If so, what was that experience like, and how did it compare to your digital experience?

Before discovering digital loan services, I had indeed explored traditional banking and loan options, although my experiences were limited due to the remote nature of my village and the lack of nearby banking facilities. I remember the few times I went to town to inquire about loans at several banks. The paperwork was extensive, the bureaucratic procedures were time-consuming. Additionally, the face-to-face meetings required significant time away from my work and responsibilities at home and school. Comparing that with my digital loan service experience, the digital platform offered quite a different experience. I didn‘t need to travel long distances or take time away from my daily duties. The requirements were clearly outlined, and the submission of documents could be done electronically, which was a huge convenience. Furthermore, the response time was much faster.

Did you make any mistakes in exploring digital loan services?

I first discovered digital loan services through a combination of online searches and social media. My first mistake was that I failed to compare enough options. I noticed a few advertisements from several fintech companies offering digital loan services. After committing to one that seemed to offer the best terms, I later discovered there were other platforms that better suited to my specific needs. I didn‘t conduct a more thorough online search to compare the different services available. I should have read more reviews. My second mistake was that I didn’t consider that the quality of customer support was very important. For example, when I encountered issues with my loan application, I found it challenging to get timely assistance. This means that the platform I chose didn‘t offer fast customer support.

Lessons learned/experience gained from this situation/benefits

Reflecting on your journey, what are your thoughts on the role of technology in personal finance, especially for those in remote areas?

For remote areas, the role of technology in personal finance isn’t just about convenience. It’s about access and empowerment, I think. Digital loan services, mobile banking, and online financial management tools have made it possible for people in even the most secluded areas to participate in the financial system, plan for the future, and achieve financial independence. My experience has shown me that the impact of technology is deeply dependent on its accessibility and usability for people like me. This journey has made me optimistic about the future of personal finance for communities like mine. I believe that with continued education technology can significantly elevate the financial well-being of people living in remote locations.

What disadvantages of complexities of digital loan services could you name?

Reflecting on my experiences, I’ve come to recognize that while digital loan services offer numerous benefits, especially in terms of accessibility and convenience, they also come with their own set of disadvantages and complexities. One notable challenge is the digital divide. Not everyone in my community, or similar remote areas, has the same level of access to technology. This gap can limit who can benefit from these services, potentially excluding those who might need them the most. Another concern is the risk of information overload and the complexity of some digital platforms with their varied terms and conditions. Furthermore, the absence of human interaction can make it harder for some people to gain clarity on complex aspects of their loan or to negotiate terms that might have been more flexible in a traditional banking environment. Lastly, a stable internet connection is not always given in remote areas. Living in a remote area, I occasionally face connectivity issues. So having reliable internet access for leveraging digital financial services effectively is very important.

What valuable lessons have you learned after navigating the complexities of digital loan services?

I must say that my quest for a personal loan is not just about improving my living space but also about deepening my connection to the wider world, demonstrating that even in the most remote areas, progress and personal growth are possible. It not only provided me with a viable option to fund my home renovation but also opened my eyes to the potential benefits of integrating more digital solutions into my personal life. Engaging with digital loan services taught me the importance of financial literacy. Understanding financial products, digital tools, and best practices empowered me to make more informed decisions and manage my finances more effectively.

Recommendations, wishes

What valuable recommendations can you offer to those who have difficulties while exploring digital financial services?

My recommendations reflect my own learning journey. I would like to emphasize the importance of being cautious and informed. I strongly recommend to always check the security measures of any digital financial service; to take the time to read all terms and conditions carefully; to compare several options of best rates, terms that suit your needs; to choose platforms that offer strong customer support; to stay informed about new technologies, services, and the most effective and secure options available.

Self-reflection questions

These questions can serve as prompts for introspection and self-assessment, helping individuals gain insight into their financial habits, values, and aspirations.

  • What can you learn from Lina’s emphasis on security to enhance your own practices?
  • How do digital financial services fit into your broader financial planning and management strategy? What lessons can you draw from Lina’s approach to integrating these digital financial services into her life?
  • What are the main complexities of digital loan services that you have encountered, and how have you dealt with them?
  • How do you view the role of technology in personal finance, especially for those in remote areas?
  • Reflect on a mistake you made while exploring digital loan services. How did it impact your decision-making process, and what did you learn from it?
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