BRIEF

How to Measure Financial Inclusion

February 19, 2015



Financial inclusion indicators can be used to help set national financial inclusion targets and monitor progress in reaching them. When policymakers have reliable performance indicators and survey mechanisms, they can:

  • diagnose the state of financial inclusion
  • agree on targets
  • identify barriers
  • craft policies and
  • monitor and measure policy impact

Country-level data and diagnostic assessments inform the design and help sequence reforms. The same data also helps the private sector improve the design and delivery of financial services.

The main types of indicators to consider when measuring financial inclusion are:

  • Access indicators reflect the depth of outreach of financial services, such as the penetration of bank branches or point of sale (POS) devices in rural areas, or demand-side barriers that customers face to access financial institutions, such as cost or information.
  • Usage indicators measure how clients use financial services, such as the regularity and duration of the financial product/service over time (e.g. average savings balances, number of transactions per account, number of electronic payments made).
  • Quality measures describe whether financial products and services match clients’ needs, the range of options available to customers, and clients’ awareness and understanding of financial products.

A fourth indicator to assess and understand how financial inclusion affects households’ and firms’ outcomes, such as firm level performance or human capital investments.

For more detail, read the Financial Inclusion Strategies Reference Framework

Surveys on Financial Inclusion

Demand-side data surveys provide information about users of financial services (individuals, households and firms) gathered through household and firms surveys. This data helps understand users’

  • financial needs (met and unmet),
  • barriers encountered when seeking formal financial services and products, and users’ socio-economic and demographic characteristics (e.g., degree of financial inclusion by income, occupation, age or gender groups).
 

Multi-country DEMAND-SIDE DATA SURVEYS on financial inclusion

survey

description

frequency

country
coverage

publicly
available

Global Findex

Cross-country,
nationally
representative
survey of
households’
finances

Triennial rounds,
annual rounds for
selected
questions

Global

Yes

Enterprise Surveys
(World Bank)

Firm-level surveys,
representative
sample of a
country’s private
sector. Broad range
of business
environment
topics including
access to
finance measures

Every few years

Over 125
countries

Yes

Consumer Prote-
ction, Financial 
Capability Surveys

(World Bank)

Nationally
representative
survey of money
management,
planning behavior,
consumer
protection
awareness, and
usage of financial
products

One time,
with potential
to repeat

Selected
countries
(17 to date)

Yes

Living Standards
Measurement
Study
(LSMS)

Multi-topic,
nationally
representative
household data.
Module on access
to and usage of
financial services
available for some
countries

Irregular

Selected
countries

Partially

FinScope

Nationally
representative
study of
consumers'
perceptions on
financial services
and issues

Irregular

14 in SSA;
India and
Pakistan

No

MECOVI

Information about
the living
conditions of
people with data
on financial access
rates

Irregular

12 in LAC

No

Financial Diaries

Year-long
household survey
that examines
financial
management in
poor households

One year-long
survey

Bangladesh,
India,
South Africa

No

Source: Adapted from GPFI 2011. “Financial Inclusion Data. Assessing the Landscape and
Country-level Target Approaches.”

 

Supply-side data surveys provide information about regulated financial institutions or through reporting to financial regulators, including

  • geographical access (branch location),
  • pricing of products and services, and
  • penetration or usage of products and services.

Supply-side data can be gathered frequently as a set of rather broad indicators of formal and regulated providers. It’s a low-cost alternative to demand-side data surveys, which are costly and less frequent.  

Multi-country SUPPLY-SIDE DATA SURVEYS on financial inclusion

survey

description

frequency

country
coverage

publicly
available

IMF Financial
Access Survey

(FAS)

Cross-country data on
penetration and usage
of financial services
collected from
regulators

Annual

Global

Yes

Global Payment
Systems Survey
(World Bank)

A snapshot of the
payment and
securities settlement
systems in both
advanced and emerging
economies

Bi-annual

Global

Yes

Global Remittance Prices (RPW)
database

Data on the cost of
sending/receiving
small amounts of
money from one
country to another.

Every 6
months

Global

Yes

MIX

Detailed operational
and financial
statement data
from Microfinance
institutions

Irregular

Over 110
countries

Partially

BankScope

Database with
information on public
and private banks.
Detailed balance sheet
and income statements
per bank

Irregular

Selected
countries

No

FinStats

Data on validated
equities, gilts,
fund prices, currencies,
dividends and indices

Irregular

Selected
countries

No

IMF-International
Financial Statistics
(IFS)

Collects eight financial
inclusion indicators
from regulators of
roughly 190 countries

Varies

Global

Yes

IMF Financial
Soundness
Indicators
 (FSI)

Indicators of Financial
Soundness that assess
strengths and
vulnerabilities of
financial systems

Varies

Global

Yes

Source: Adapted from GPFI, 2011. “Financial Inclusion Data. Assessing the Landscape and
Country-level Target Approaches.”

 

Financial Inclusion Data 

These data surveys are complementary to each other, and for better policymaking, should be used in combination.  Ideally, countries can measure and monitor financial inclusion by combining frequently collected supply-side data, with more detailed demand-side information.  Demand-side data can help guide policies toward financially excluded groups, or identify which population groups concentrate the use of financial products and services. (or identify which population groups use most financial products and services.)

The World Bank Group, IMF and other international organizations collect a broad range of financial inclusion data:

The Global Findex, is a public database that measures people’s use of financial products across economies and over time. The data are based on interviews with more than 150,000 nationally representative and randomly selected adults in 148 economies, covering over 97% of the world's adult population. It was developed by the World Bank and Gallup, and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) has the following G20 Basic Set of Financial Inclusion Indicators to help countries set financial inclusion targets and monitor progress. This information is derived from country-led data gathering, including financial institution data collected by financial regulators, and household/firm surveys, and need not be dependent on the global surveys.

  1. Formally banked adults: Percentage of adults with an account at a formal financial institution
  2. Adults with credit from regulated institutions: Percentage of adults with at least one loan outstanding from a financial institution   
  3. Formally banked enterprises: Number or percentage of SMEs with accounts
  4. Enterprises with outstanding loan from a regulated financial institution: Number or percentage of SMEs with outstanding loan
  5. Points of service: Number of branches per 100,000 adults

The first four indicators measure the usage and are best obtained from demand-side data. The fifth indicator measures geographical access of formal financial providers. It can be obtained from supply-side data collected by the central bank or ministry of finance. These indicators can be further tailored through sub-indicators to monitor specific issues, such as the fraction of women with financial accounts, the proportion of female-owned firms with a bank loan, or the fraction of adults from rural areas using formal credit.

Countries that don’t collect data to develop these indicators can use Findex, World Bank Group’s Enterprise Surveys, or IMF’s Financial Access Survey data, or can include questions from these surveys in their national surveys.