Data from the World Bank’s Global Findex Survey 2021, indicate there has been recent growth in the use of accounts to make digital payments, as well as to save, borrow, and engage in the broader financial ecosystem. These findings are based on nationally representative surveys, conducted during the COVID-10 pandemic of approximately 125,000 adults in 123 nations. The findings contain indicators on access to, and use of, formal and informal financial services, including the use of cards, mobile phones, and the internet to make and receive digital payments.

The report states that the ability to receive electronic payments appears to be:

“… a catalyst for other financial services: the majority of adults who received a digital payment also made a digital payment, and were more likely than non-recipients to save, borrow, and store money.”

These findings suggest that digitalizing common payments such as government payments (as with Direct Express®) and private-sector wages, could facilitate financial inclusion for unbanked and underbanked adults.

This is, of course, informative for those of us with an interest in Direct Express®, which allows unbanked and underbanked individuals to receive and make digital payments through an “account equivalent”. It has always been an aim of the program to promote financial inclusion by bringing more Americans into the financial mainstream and it has been broadly successful in doing so through the Direct Express® network-branded prepaid debit card, supported by a biometrically-enabled smartphone app.

Global Findex 2021 also captured data on the degree of financial stress people feel about common expenses. Unsurprisingly, poor adults and women in developing countries are more likely to experience financial stress and to report that they would need help using financial services. This, the report contends, points to opportunities to encourage more effective use of resilience-enabling services such as savings. It also says government should ensure that consumer protection policies take into account low levels of financial literacy among unbanked and underbanked populations. This low level of financial literacy is, of course, the reason for the support provided to Direct Express® cardholders via the Direct Express® Financial Education Center.

For more on the World Bank Global Findex Survey 2021 visit:

SOURCE: World Bank