118 million Nigerian adults do not have bank accounts

India lags in use of digital payments, cash still king: World Bank

World Bank praises India's Aadhaar push

Many are already there: Sixty-seven percent of customers globally are on digital banking platforms now, according to Oracle; the World Bank reports that 515 million customers worldwide opened a banking account through a mobile money provider in the last three years. In high-income economies, 94% of adults have an account compared with 63% in developing economies.

"World Bank Global Findex Report recognises India's Financial Inclusion efforts".

The share of account owners with an inactive account varies across economies, but it is especially high in many South-Asian economies, but India has the highest percentage of such accounts, it said.

Explaining the reason for this mismatch, the World Bank said: "Part of the explanation might be India's Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, developed by the government to increase account ownership".

The report observed that while Modi government's scheme increased account ownership through biometric identification cards that benefited traditionally excluded groups, half of the account owners have accounts that were inactive a year ago.

Around half of the adults in Indonesia now own a bank account, reflecting a true turning point in the country's journey to boost financial inclusion.

The World bank said a strong government push to increase account ownership through biometric identification cards in India helped narrow both the gender gap and the gap between richer and poorer adults. The gap between men and women in developing economies remains unchanged since 2011, at 9 percentage points.

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Mobile money accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa almost doubled, to 21 percent, further increasing financial inclusion in the region even as traditional bank account ownership rates remained flat.

The finding is a sign of the improved financial well-being of those living in developing countries and particularly women, who increasingly have a safe place to store their savings and are able to participate in the growing digitalization of the global economy. In India, for example, 42 per cent of male account owners use digital payments, while just 29 per cent of female account owners do.

He added: "Financial inclusion allows people to save for family needs, borrow to support a business, or build a cushion against an emergency".

Digital technology could take advantage of existing cash transactions to bring people into the financial system, the report stated. Digital public pension payments could reduce the number of unbanked adults in Europe and Central Asia by up to 20 million.

Excluding India, regional account ownership still rose by 12 percentage points?but men often benefited more than women.

"The Global Findex shows great progress for financial access-and also great opportunities for policymakers and the private sector to increase usage and to expand inclusion among women, farmers and the poor", the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands said.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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