More than half of the world’s adult population, nearly 2.5 billion people, remain unbanked. Technology – particularly the mobile phone – has been used in recent years to extend financial services past the limits of bank branches and reach new consumers in traditionally underserved segments. Initial efforts focused on payments but have now grown to include savings, insurance and credit products delivered by digital channels, known as “products beyond payments.” Despite a dramatic expansion in the number of digital financial service deployments, the offering of these financial services are not new services. Rather, they are existing services migrated to a lower-cost digital channel, therefore offering greater scale potential. And even then, use of these channels currently remain low.
This research seeks to accomplish four objectives:
Catalog the ways in which technology, especially mobile, can enhance access or use of financial services
Provide a comprehensive landscape of the latest innovations in digital finance
Consider the current and potential impact of these innovations on financial inclusion
Identify enabling conditions and investments needed to unlock the potential of the sector