Tablet-Based Financial Education

Last registered on September 10, 2015


Trial Information

General Information

Tablet-Based Financial Education
Initial registration date
September 10, 2015

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 10, 2015, 12:49 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Innovations for Poverty Action

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Universidad del Pacifico
PI Affiliation
Universidad del Pacífico
PI Affiliation
University College of London

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study presents the pre-analysis plan of a randomized intervention aimed at evaluating the impact of a tablet-based financial education intervention in Colombia. The evaluation will test the impact of the intervention on financial literacy (including skills, awareness, attitudes and perceptions), personal financial practice adoption (e.g., savings, budget, debt behavior, etc.), and use of formal financial products (e.g., kind and number of formal financial transactions) on poor and extremely poor mostly female participants of the Colombian "Más Familias en Acción" CCT Program.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Attanasio, Orazio et al. 2015. "Tablet-Based Financial Education." AEA RCT Registry. September 10.
Former Citation
Attanasio, Orazio et al. 2015. "Tablet-Based Financial Education." AEA RCT Registry. September 10.
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Experimental Details


The intervention will be integrated as a component of the larger Proyecto Capital program in Colombia, which seeks the financial inclusion of millions of poor households by working through CCT programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Colombia, the Departamento para la Prosperidad Social (DPS) manages the Más Familias en Acción (MFA) program, which reaches 3 million poor and extremely poor individuals and their families. This includes households that rank lower than established thresholds on the national poverty index (SISBEN), families in extreme poverty (those belonging to the Red Unidos initiative), and victims of displacement caused by Colombia’s internal armed conflict. Given the program’s credibility and dedicated resources, opportunities exist for supplemental interventions that would enable transfer recipients to make better use of the funds.

The intervention to be evaluated is based on the LISTA application and accompanying distribution methodology developed by Fundación Capital. The tablet application was developed for use without the help of a trainer or facilitator, providing an interactive experience. The application does not require Internet access to function and can thus reach low-income users even in the most rural areas. By integrating audio, video, and gaming elements, the didactic application overcomes literacy barriers, providing an entertaining educational experience, while empowering women through technology.
Users choose when to use the tablet, the order in which they access the training topics (modules), and the time they spend on each, revisiting if they choose topics that were unclear. Audiovisual features also facilitate training for illiterate users. Interactive features and user-centric design enables identification with the application and stimulates participation.

There are games and exercises incorporated into all of the training elements along five educational modules:
(1) ABCs of Savings: provides educational content and information on topics such as savings and insurance, with testimonial videos and illustrative stories, all with the objective of increasing financial capabilities and helping users make informed financial decisions.
(2) Managing my Money: helps users organize their income and expenses and allows them to visualize their savings and debt, with the goal of preventing over-indebtedness.
(3) My Bank: provides information about financial products in general, but also with specific information about the savings accounts and mobile wallets cash transfer recipients already have access to, in order to encourage their use.
(4) Games: this module includes several ATM and mobile wallet simulators, users can gain confidence in using the real thing, and also includes games that they can play individually or in groups, which help them review important concepts and rules of thumb.
(5) Más Familias en Acción module: the objective is to clarify how the program works, how cash transfers are assigned, and the program benefits and obligations. This module was added because field studies highligted a lack of understanding of how the program works, with participants believing rumors that if they save in the bank account opened for them by the Government, they will be expelled from the program.

The application to be evaluated takes into account user feedback on content and design and thus has new educational topics, exercises and simulations (i.e., mobile wallets), based on identified needs of the MFA population and the specificities of the current CCT-linked financial products. The estimated time spent receiving the full training is an average of three hours per person. In sum, the tablet has the power to increase user and family interest in financial issues, to give motivation to set up savings goals, maintain better control of household finances and to increase user confidence in the financial system.

The intervention will involve a ‘basic’ treatment – a 8-month implementation of the tablet application, which will reach between 100,000 to 110,000 participants. Part of these participants will continue with an ‘enhanced’ treatment, which involves receiving text messages for four months following the end of their tablet treatment.
Messages will include mobile text ‘reinforcement’ messages offering knowledge reminders or rules of thumb, as well as saving ‘nudges’. These text messages will be sent for four months biweekly (2 per month) after completing the tablet usage.

Texts will be directly related to the content included in the application and to the specific financial product the government provided for that person as part of the CCT program. Some of them will also be nudge messages, with a call to action to put in practice what was learnt.

Tablets will be distributed among madres líderes (mother leaders) of the MFA program. During an introductory session, these leaders will commit to the program and set their goals in terms of number of women they will help train with the tablet app during their rotation period (35 on average). Each leader will have 2 months to reach their goal, after which they will rotate the tablet and pass it along to a different mother leader in the community, so that many people can be reached with a smaller amount of tablet computers.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The study will evaluate the impact of the two types of financial education tablet treatments on:
(1) Financial knowledge and attitudes,
(2) Adoption of formal and informal practices,
(3) Financial performance.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
(1) Financial knowledge and attitudes:
- Awareness of formal financial options
- Perceptions/attitudes towards entities and practices
(2) Adoption of formal and informal practices:
- Savings with formal and informal system
- Budgeting practices
- Debt/credit management
- Self-reported learning outcomes
(3) Financial performance:
- Use of formal financial products

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study will evaluate the impact of two types of financial education tablet treatments on (a) the acquisition of financial literacy; (b) the adoption of personal financial practices; and (c) use and performance of formal financial products and services. Treatment 1 (T1) will consist of beneficiaries rotating tablet use within the municipality. Treatment 2 (T2) will include tablet use plus reminder text follow-ups for four months after the end of tablet use. Both treatments will be compared to a control group (C).
T1, T2 and C samples will be compared at two levels. Level 1 will compare via administrative data the savings data as well as number and kind of financial transactions of the overall sample. Level 2 will compare via survey data financial knowledge, attitudes, practices, and self-reported performance.
The implementation a group of 30 treatment municipalities and 30 municipalities of control, accounting for a total of 100,000 beneficiaries.
While we will have access to the administrative data for the entire sample of treatment and control municipalities, for the surveying we will only focus on beneficiaries in the first tablet rotation, the latter of which will have been determined randomly. We will conduct three rounds of phone surveying: baseline, midline (immediately following the first tablet rotation), and endline (roughly eight months after baseline).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer, using STATA.
Randomization Unit
At the first-level, municipalities will be block randomized (by region and by rural category since the latter determines the transfer amount) to test control (C) and tablet treatment (T1).
Within the 30 treatment municipalities, a second-level randomization will occur at the "mother leader" level (270 clusters), with half receiving SMS follow-ups for four months after the tablet rotation ends and the other half no.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
At the first level: 8 clusters (groups of municipalities)
At the second level: aprox. 270 clusters (mother leader)
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 beneficiaries of the MFA program (after attrition)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
30 municipalities T1, 30 municipalities C
15 municipalities T1, 15 municipalities T2
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
T1 vs C: Unit: municipality (60) Effect size: 0.15 ICC: 0.03 Power:0.8 T1 vs T2: Unit: mother leader (270) Effect size: 0.17 ICC: 0.03 Power: 0.80

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee for Innovations for Poverty Action IRB-USA
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials