Two billion adults still 'have no access to banking'

Male stock market traders in India Image copyright EPA
Image caption Men still have significantly more financial access than women in South Asia

More than a quarter of people globally still do not have access to banking facilities, a report shows.

The World Bank's Global Findex report said more than half of adults in the world's poorest areas still have no access to the financial system.

This is despite a global increase of 11% in the last three years of adults owning bank accounts.

The increase in account ownership has been driven largely by developing countries and the role of technology.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Technology contributes to increased financial access in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mobile money

Broader access to the financial system can "boost job creation, increase investment in education" and is "critical to ending global poverty", said the report.

It also found that the gender gap in financial inclusion is not narrowing. The largest gap was in South Asia, where 37% of women have an account, compared with 65% of men.

Mobile money accounts - making and receiving electronic payments via a mobile phone - in Sub-Saharan Africa contributed to the growth in account ownership, which now stands at 62% of adults globally, up from 51% three years ago. The World Bank said this presents "big opportunities for boosting financial inclusion among women and poor people".

World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim said: "Access to financial services can serve as a bridge out of poverty. We have set a hugely ambitious goal - universal financial access by 2020."

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