Three-quarters of the world’s poor do not have a bank account, not only because of poverty, but also because of the cost, travel distance, and amount of paper work involved in opening one, says the World Bank. Those without access to formal banking often have to rely on money lenders who often charge high fees. The “unbanked” are also less likely to start their own business or insure themselves against unexpected events.
Recognizing the need for better data to support the financial inclusion agenda, the World Bank’s Development Research Group, with a 10-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has constructed the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) Database. Covering a range of topics, the database can be used to develop a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how people around the world save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk.