Track global progress toward universal financial access. Check on commitments the World Bank, IFC and partners made to open access to financial services for unbanked people.
Putting money in a savings account, paying bills online or applying for a loan has become an everyday part of life for many adults in the world. It’s hard to imagine not being able to save money in a bank, and instead have to rely on storing cash under the proverbial mattress.
Extending access to finance is the first building block for people to build a better life. Not only does it help families plan for long-term goals and emergencies, it also facilitates day-to-day living and yields positive results in many different ways.
Financial access is the first step toward broader financial inclusion, where individuals and businesses can safely use appropriate financial services, including savings, payments, credit and insurance.
However, an estimated 2 billion people -- or 38% of adults in the world -- don’t have access to basic financial services and are excluded from the formal financial system, according to Global Findex 2014.
Their ranks include more than half of adults in the poorest 40% of households in developing countries.
Women in developing countries are 20% less likely than men to have an account and 17% less likely to have borrowed from a formal financial institution in the past year.
More than 200 million formal and informal micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in developing economies are underserved in their financing needs, according to IFC estimates.
In some cases, the lack of access is because banking outlets are too few, too far or unwilling to serve the poor, but more often it’s because many with meager incomes think they’re too poor to be able to benefit from financial services.
There is progress toward financial access.
Between 2011 and 2014, 700 million people became account holders at banks, other financial institutions or mobile money services providers, decreasing the number of financially excluded individuals by 20%, from 2.5 billion to 2 billion adults.
Extending access to financial services is necessary to reduce world’s poverty and increase prosperity.