The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution

Development – Financial Inclusion
The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution
World Bank – Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Leora Klapper, Dorothe Singer, Saniya Ansar, Jake Hess
2018 ]April] :: 151 pages
…A growing body of research demonstrates the impact of country advances on significant priorities such as reducing poverty, hunger, and gender inequality. Today, member states at the United Nations are using Global Findex data to track progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

Dozens of national governments have adopted policies to expand financial inclusion. These and other global and national efforts are paying off. New Global Findex data reveal that globally the share of adults owning an account is now 69 percent, an increase of seven percentage points since 2014. These numbers translate into 515 million adults who have gained access to financial tools. The 2017 figures on overall account ownership continue the upward trajectory we’ve seen since the Global Findex database was first released—with financial inclusion rising 18 percentage points since 2011, when account ownership was 51 percent.

The 2017 Global Findex data reflect the continued evolution of financial inclusion. Recent progress has been driven by digital payments, government policies, and a new generation of financial services accessed through mobile phones and the internet.

The power of financial technology to expand access to and use of accounts is demonstrated most persuasively in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 21 percent of adults now have a mobile money account—nearly twice the share in 2014 and easily the highest of any region in the world. While mobile money has been centered in East Africa, the 2017 update reveals that it has spread to West Africa and beyond.

Digital technology is also transforming the payments landscape. Globally, 52 percent of adults have sent or received digital payments in the past year, up from 42 percent in 2014. Technology giants have moved into the financial sphere, leveraging deep customer knowledge to provide a broad range of financial services. Payments made through their technology platforms are facilitating higher account use in major emerging economies such as China, where 57 percent of account owners are using mobile phones or the internet to make purchases or
pay bills—roughly twice the share in 2014.

Some advances have been made in helping women gain access to financial services. In India three years ago, men were 20 percentage points more likely than women to have an account. Today, India’s gender gap has shrunk to 6 percentage points thanks to a strong government push to increase account ownership through biometric identification cards.

Still, in most of the world women continue to lag well behind men. Globally, 65 percent of women have an account compared with 72 percent of men, a gap of seven percentage points that is all but unchanged since 2011. Nor has equality in account ownership been achieved in other regards. The gap between rich and poor has not improved since 2014: account ownership is 13 percentage points higher among adults living in the wealthiest 60 percent of households within economies than among those in the poorest 40 percent. And urban populations continue to benefit from far broader access to finance than rural communities. In China around 200 million rural adults remain outside the formal financial system…
.Press Release
Financial Inclusion on the Rise, But Gaps Remain, Global Findex Database Shows
515 Million Adults Have Opened Accounts Since 2014
WASHINGTON, April 19, 2018—Financial inclusion is on the rise globally, accelerated by mobile phones and the internet, but gains have been uneven across countries. A new World Bank report on the use of financial services also finds that men remain more likely than women to have an account.

…“In the past few years, we have seen great strides around the world in connecting people to formal financial services,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “Financial inclusion allows people to save for family needs, borrow to support a business, or build a cushion against an emergency. Having access to financial services is a critical step towards reducing both poverty and inequality, and new data on mobile phone ownership and internet access show unprecedented opportunities to use technology to achieve universal financial inclusion.”

There has been a significant increase in the use of mobile phones and the internet to conduct financial transactions. Between 2014 and 2017, this has contributed to a rise in the share of account owners sending or receiving payments digitally from 67 percent to 76 percent globally, and in the developing world from 57 percent to 70 percent.

Globally, 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked, yet two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could help them access financial services. Digital technology could take advantage of existing cash transactions to bring people into the financial system, the report finds. For example, paying government wages, pensions, and social benefits directly into accounts could bring formal financial services to up to 100 million more adults globally, including 95 million in developing economies. There are other opportunities to increase account ownership and use through digital payments: more than 200 million unbanked adults who work in the private sector are paid in cash only, as are more than 200 million who receive agricultural payments…