> Posted by Center Staff

After great anticipation, three years’ worth to be exact, the 2017 Global Findex Database was officially released this morning. The Global Findex is the authoritative data source on global progress toward financial inclusion. Released every three years, the Global Findex surveys more than 150,000 adults in 144 economies to better understand how people access and use financial services to make payments, and also to save and borrow.

Since the 2014 Findex, the percent of the global population that has a bank account with a financial institution or mobile money service rose from 62 percent to 69 percent. Five-hundred and fifteen million individuals opened an account for the first time over the past three years, reducing the unbanked population to 1.7 billion adults worldwide. However, the new data also reveal critical shortcomings in progress. For instance, the financial inclusion gender gap didn’t improve. Globally, women remain 7 percent less likely to own a bank account than men.

Here are a few of the 2017 Global Findex’s high-level statistics:

  • Half of the 1.7 billion unbanked individuals worldwide live in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan.
  • In higher-income countries, 94 percent of adults have a bank account, while in developing countries this figure is 63 percent.
  • The proportion of individuals globally who send or receive digital payments increased from 42 percent to 52 percent; this figure is 76 percent for those who have a bank account.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of individuals with a mobile money account nearly doubled to 21 percent, while bank account ownership increased by only 4 percent.
  • Globally, roughly two-thirds of those who are unbanked have a mobile phone, but Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where mobile money penetration is greater than 10 percent.
  • In addition to the persistent gender gap, the difference in bank account ownership rates between the rich and the poor has not improved, with those living in the wealthiest 60 percent of households in the poorest 40 percent of economies 13 percentage points more likely to have a bank account.
  • The accounts of one-fifth of banked individuals worldwide are inactive.
  • The Findex’s financial resiliency question revealed that individuals in higher-income economies would be far more likely to be able to come up with emergency funds than those in developing economies.

For more findings, you can access the 2017 Global Findex Database report, an abridged overview report, and the full dataset.

In several weeks, the CFI will release a brief distilling our key takeaways from the 2017 Global Findex.