2 Billion Adults Worldwide Do Not Have Bank Account: ITU

Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service
Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reveals that 2 billion adults worldwide do not have a bank account, but among them, 1.6 billion have a mobile phone.

According to ITU, developing countries are capitalizing on the widespread use of mobile phones and information and communication technologies (ICTs) to bring all people within reach of financial services and out of poverty.

Digital financial services show great potential to give previously ‘unbanked’ people the ability to save, make payments and access credit and insurance—allowing them to manage an irregular income stream, ITU says.

It suggests that digital financial inclusion can help governments ensure that social security payments reach their intended recipients, and help merchants accepting digital payments gain new business intelligence and access lines of credit.

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Efforts towards digital financial inclusion are contributing towards the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 1, which is poverty eradication.

Developing countries are capitalizing on the widespread use of mobile phones to bring all people within reach of life-changing financial services and out of poverty. This requires data confidentiality, reliable means to verify people’s identity, security from hackers and fraudsters and solutions to make electronic payments attractive to small merchants and their customers.

Efforts towards digital financial inclusion ensure that financial services are accessible to all, interoperable between different service providers, and consistently available and secure, protecting users’ digital identities and data and giving them the assurance that their money and identities are safe.

Endeavours to alleviate global poverty cannot solely promote access to digital financial services. Users must have adequate financial and digital literacy if the lives of the 2 billion unbanked are to be improved.

The ITU Focus Group on Digital Financial Services issued 85 policy recommendations for digital financial services and 28 supporting thematic reports.

With more than 60 organizations from more than 30 countries, the Focus Group was the first initiative to bring together all the actors, including ICT regulators and representatives from central banks, working in the interests of financial inclusion.

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Rakesh Raman