Seven guiding principles to help countries increase financial inclusion were set out in a report released today by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the World Bank Group. The Payment aspects of financial inclusion report builds on a document that underwent public consultation in late 2015 and seeks to tackle barriers to the adoption and usage of transaction accounts, which sit at the heart of retail payment services.
A transaction account is an essential financial service that can serve as a gateway to other financial services such as savings, credit and insurance. However, nearly 40% of the world’s adult population – about 2 billion people – still have no account with a bank or authorised non-bank servicer provider.
In addition to outlining principles to help countries advance financial inclusion, the report suggests possible key actions, including providing basic accounts at little or no cost, stepping up efforts to increase financial literacy, and leveraging large-volume payment programmes, such as government payments, by adopting electronic payment services. Financial inclusion efforts are beneficial not only for those who will become financially included, but also for the national payments infrastructure and, ultimately, the economy.
The seven guiding principles are: (i) commitment from public and private sector organisations; (ii) a robust legal and regulatory framework underpinning financial inclusion; (iii) safe, efficient and widely reachable financial and ICT infrastructures; (iv) transaction accounts and payment product offerings that effectively meet a broad range of transaction needs; (v) availability of a broad network of access points and interoperable access channels; (vi) effective awareness and financial literacy efforts; and (vii) the leveraging of large-volume and recurrent payment streams, including remittances, to advance financial inclusion objectives.
The CPMI and the World Bank Group believe that the guidance developed in this report will be essential to helping central banks and other stakeholders achieve effective financial access and broader financial inclusion. Given that safe, efficient and accessible retail payment systems and services are critical for greater financial inclusion, the report will be instrumental in supporting the goal of achieving Universal Financial Access by 2020.
1. The report has been prepared for the CPMI and the World Bank Group by a task force consisting of representatives from CPMI central banks, non-CPMI central banks active in the area of financial inclusion and international financial institutions. The task force was jointly chaired by Marc Hollanders (Special Adviser on Financial Infrastructure, Bank for International Settlements) and Massimo Cirasino (Practice Manager, Financial Infrastructure & Access, World Bank Group).
2. The CPMI promotes the safety and efficiency of payment, clearing, settlement and related arrangements, thereby supporting financial stability and the wider economy. It is a global standard setter in this area. The CPMI monitors and analyses developments in these arrangements, both within and across jurisdictions. It aims to strengthen regulation, policy and practices regarding such arrangements worldwide. It also serves as a forum for central bank cooperation in related oversight, policy and operational matters, including the provision of central bank services. The CPMI secretariat is hosted by the BIS. More information about the CPMI, and all its publications, can be found on the BIS website at www.bis.org/cpmi.
3. The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. The World Bank Group’s “Universal Financial Access 2020” goal is for adults globally to have access to a transaction account or electronic instrument to store money, send and receive payments as the basic building block to manage their financial lives. The World Bank Group’s Payment Systems Development Group supports the development and reform of national payment systems, including international remittance markets, in more than 130 countries. More information is available on the World Bank’s website at www.worldbank.org/paymentsystems.