what is microfinance

“Microfinance” is often defined as financial services for poor and low-income clients offered by different types of service providers. In practice, the term is often used more narrowly to refer to loans and other services from providers that identify themselves as “microfinance institutions” (MFIs). These institutions commonly tend to use new methods developed to deliver very small loans to unsalaried borrowers, taking little or no collateral. These methods include group lending and liability, pre-loan savings requirements, gradually increasing loan sizes, and an implicit guarantee of ready access to future loans if present loans are repaid fully and promptly.
More broadly, microfinance refers to a movement that envisions a world in which low-income households have permanent access to a range of high quality and affordable financial services offered by a range of retail providers to finance  income-producing activities, build assets, stabilize consumption, and protect against risks. These services include savings, credit, insurance, remittances, and payments and others.
Microfinance has emerged as a larger movement whose object is “a world in which as everyone, especially the poor and socially marginalized people and households have access to a wide range of affordable, high quality financial products and services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, payment services, and fund transfers etc.

In other words it can be said, Credit + Savings + Other Financial Benefit = Microfinance.