Across much of the developed world, people take their bank accounts for granted, safe in the knowledge that their money is secure and that there’s an ATM close at hand. Elsewhere, the concept of financial inclusion remains a pipe-dream. Some 1.7 billion adults worldwide still don’t have access to a bank account, according to data released by the World Bank. The situation is slowly improving, however, with 1.2 billion people getting access to proper banking since 2011, including over half a billion people in the last three years alone.
Aside from the obvious advantages of not having to store money throughout the house, a bank account connects people to the formal financial system and enables them to make day-to-day living less complicated as well as allowing them to build up their assets. With so many people disconnected, the question has to be asked: where are people still hiding their money under the mattress? Unsurprisingly, The World Bank’s data shows that the situation is worst in developing countries and in Africa and Asia in particular.
Despite its meteoric economic strides in recent years, China still has 224 million inhabitants without a bank account. In India, the number of people without access to banking stands at 191 million while in Pakistan, it’s 99 million. By comparison, the total number of people with no account in the U.S. stands at a still pretty sizeable 18 million. As well as the advantages already mentioned above, it is important to mention some other key benefits of financial inclusion. Access to a bank account could help the holder access digital financial services (such as mobile payments or fintech apps) while someone with an account is more likely to start or expand a business.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)
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