By Leora Klapper
Since the first iteration of the Global Findex survey in 2011, the share of adults in developing economies with a financial account has risen to 71%—an increase of more than 50 percentage points. While that growth is worth celebrating, the total numbers hide significant differences in how and why adults today in developing economies are accessing and using financial services.
From 2011 to 2017, financial inclusion efforts were driven by “scale,” as governments in large-population economies like India and China enacted policies specifically to increase account access. Between 2017 and 2021, however, global trends shifted toward broader “scope,” such that 34 developing economies of different sizes increased their share of adults with a financial account by more than 10 percentage points. Both scale and scope expansion of financial inclusion have been enabled by customer-facing digital technology—but the kind of technology making an impact and how it’s delivering results may not be what you think.
How does Findex assess the role of “digital technology” in financial inclusion?
A great deal of focus and excitement has pointed toward the digital-only services offered by non-bank financial…