Social Research Digest – April 2012
The paper provides the first analysis of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) Database, a new set of indicators that measure how adults in 148 economies save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. It is part of a larger effort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions around the world.
- The data show that 50 percent of adults worldwide have an account at a formal financial institution, though account penetration varies widely across regions, income groups and individual characteristics.
- In addition, 22 percent of adults report having saved at a formal financial institution in the past 12 months, and 9 percent report having taken out a new loan from a bank, credit union or microfinance institution in the past year.
- Although half of adults around the world remain unbanked, at least 35 percent of them report barriers to account use that might be addressed by public policy.
- Among the most commonly reported barriers are high cost, physical distance, and lack of proper documentation, though there are significant differences across regions and individual characteristics.