> Posted by Anita Gardeva

The Center recently published its Financial Inclusion Glossary. Each week we will feature a glossary term as the Word of the Week.  The glossary is a collaborative effort so if you have any suggestions on words to include, please let us know! We hope you enjoy this series.

Word of the Week – Access:
The availability to a given person of affordable and appropriate financial services. Access is contingent on the supply of financial services.  When an individual has access to a financial service, a provider offers the service in a manner that gives the client the option to easily use it when she decides.

Access is often seen as the goal of financial inclusion; however access is difficult to measure because availability cannot be directly observed. Usage is often used as a proxy, although it can underestimate the number of households that have access because it fails to capture those who currently have access to a financial service but are not using it. Although access and usage are often used interchangeably, they are not the same; usage results when there is both access to a financial services and a demand to use it. Usage is not necessarily the goal of financial inclusion.

Spotlight Fact: Did you know that estimates state that more than 2 billion people around the world lack access to financial services?

Suggested Resource: A good resource with more information on access to financial services around the world is CGAP’s Financial Access 2009, a report that surveys financial regulators in 139 countries to highlight important financial access data and insights.  A 2010 version is scheduled to be released this fall.

For more financial inclusion terms, visit the Center’s interactive Financial Inclusion Glossary.

For more information, sign up for updates from the Financial Inclusion 2020 campaign.

Flickr Credit: Jsome1