> Posted by Center Staff

For financial inclusion enthusiasts the world over, this afternoon probably felt like Christmas morning/ your favorite time of the year. This afternoon the World Bank released the 2014 Global Findex, the world’s most comprehensive demand-side gauge of global progress in financial inclusion. As the first Global Findex was released in 2011, this second installment captures the past three years of financial inclusion developments, including the areas of account penetration, payments, savings, borrowing, and more. In total, almost 150,000 adults were surveyed from over 140 countries.

What was uncovered?

  • Account penetration increased by about 20 percent or 700 million adults, bringing the world’s banked rate from 51 to 62 percent, and the number of unbanked individuals from 2.5 billion to 2 billion.
  • Among the bottom 40 percent of the economic pyramid, account penetration increased by 17 percent, though more than half of the adults in this group remain unbanked.
  • The financial inclusion gender gap remained constant over the past three years at 7 percent, with 65 percent of men and 58 percent of women having a formal account in 2014.
  • The new data supports the hype behind mobile money – at least in sub-Saharan Africa, where 12 percent of adults have a mobile money account (compared to 2 percent globally) and 45 percent of these account holders rely on mobile alone for formal banking.

The CFI is thrilled to learn of the progress made in the past three years, especially in the finding that account penetration among the base of the economic pyramid increased so substantially. As the Global Findex points to growth in developing economies and innovations in technology as key drivers of recent inclusion, we’re confident about the advancements the next three years will bring.

For analysis and more findings, read the new report, The Global Findex Database 2014: Measuring Financial Inclusion Around the World. The Global Findex data itself is available to download, here. The World Bank data portal also includes infographics, data visualizations, and interactive dashboards.

Stay tuned to this blog in the days to come for more on the new Global Findex.