The number of people with access to a financial account is steadily rising. Globally, 69 percent of adults in 2017 had accounts, up from 51 percent in 2011. But there are stark differences among countries—China and India are at 80 percent, while Pakistan and Sierra Leone have only 22 percent of adults banked. And the gender gap in account use is unchanged over the past decade at nine percentage points worldwide. Moreover, one in three people in developing countries had not used their accounts over the past year, according to the 2017 Global Findex.
CGAP's work on customers seeks to better understand the financial lives of poor people, particularly women, youth, and the forcibly displaced, among other vulnerable segments. What we learn will help financial services providers design products and services that better meet the needs of low-income people. We believe that creating value for customers increases account uptake and use, which in turn gives poor people more opportunities to improve their well-being. Providers also benefit because customers who see the value in services offered tend to be more loyal, use more financial products, and generate more revenue for providers.
Across the developing world there are millions of entrepreneurs, most of them women, who are engaged in a largely hidden but significant form of digital commerce that runs parallel to formal e-commerce – informal online commerce (IOC). Interventions to help women maximize the benefits of IOC should...