Survey on Financial Inclusion and Access (SOFIA)

Limited access to financial services has been identified as one of the key constraints that many people in eastern Indonesia face.

One of the major barriers being the availability of information available to policy makers, regulators, and financial service providers. Our survey, implemented in cooperation with the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning, measures and profiles levels of access to, and use of, financial services by all adults across income ranges and other demographics.

This vital demand-side information supports efforts to extend the reach of financial services in the country by developing greater understanding about people’s financial perceptions, attitudes and behaviours, the types of products used in terms of transactions, including payment and transfer services, savings, credit, insurance and remittances, and the drivers and barriers to use and access financial products and services.

SOFIA is designed so that it can be conducted over several rounds. This first round of the survey (2017) covers four provinces in eastern Indonesia: East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.


The poor, those in rural areas, smallholder farmers and those who operate micro, small to medium enterprises are particularly vulnerable to inadequate financial services in eastern Indonesia. The financial services needed by these groups include savings, payment/money transfer services, loans for working capital and small investment purposes, as well as crop and livestock insurances. In many cases, people have to rely on their family members, friends, and informal money lenders for financial services.

The importance and benefit of serving the financially-excluded population is acknowledged by many stakeholders, and there is growing recognition that better information on different target groups or segments of the market is needed:

  • Policy makers and regulators recognize the importance to promote financial inclusion to spur the productivity and growth, especially for those in the low-income category.
  • Financial institutions, on the other hand, are aware of the commercial potential to reach clients from among those who are largely unbanked. However, the information from the demand side is very limited, e.g. economic characteristics, individual behavioral patterns.

Credible information and analysis on the financial lives of people needs to be established to provide solid evidence both for policy making and for developing appropriate financial products.

Our approaches

SOFIA draws on the FinScope methodology - a survey instrument used in many other countries as part of broader initiatives to support the financial inclusion agenda – while being adjusted to the specific context of Indonesia.

We are implementing the survey – from its design through to data collection and analysis of the results.

  • Phase 1: Stakeholder consultation and design

Effective stakeholder dialogue is an essential component of the survey, especially considering the high level of interest among government, industry players, development partners and other stakeholders in Indonesia. This phase includes the development of instruments.

  • Phase 2: Fieldwork

This phase includes pilot-testing the questionnaire and fieldwork process to test the adequacy of concepts to be measured; conducting training of all fieldwork personnel; implementing household listing and interviews of respondents; and conducting fieldwork monitoring by the SOFIA core team. We use CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) to complete the survey.

  • Phase 3: Analysis

The data collected (from the interviews) was analysed using Stata and SPSS, and the report/s prepared in line with the agreed analysis plan.

  • Phase 4: Dissemination

The headline results will be presented to a wider stakeholder group at a Launch Event. This event will bring together representatives of relevant government agencies, various financial services providers and development partners, especially those supporting the promotion of financial inclusion in Indonesia.


The survey provides data and generate analysis to characterise financial access in four provinces in eastern Indonesia. This includes the overall financial access strand, the usage of formal and informal financial services, the usage of financial services of other institutions and the financially-excluded population. The main report also provides results and analysis on the access to, and use of, savings products, loans, payments/transfer services, and insurance products.

Given that the SOFIA survey aims to provide data and generate analysis that can be used by financial service providers that have an interest to expand into new unbanked markets, in our analysis of the ‘opportunities’, we produce profiles of (potential) consumers of financial services. These profiles are meant to provide financial service providers with information that they can use as they develop new products or services.

Areas of expertise