Unequal Access

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Around the world, only about half of adults (aged fifteen and older) have access to an account with a formal financial institution. In low income countries, less than a quarter do. 

Account penetration is high in wealthy countries, but there is great variation in account penetration among lower income countries

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A formal bank account provides a secure way to save, and is the gate- way to accessing many other financial services that can help individuals manage their financial lives. While a formal account is taken for granted as a necessity by many people in high income countries, account access varies widely for their low income counterparts. 

Across low income countries, there is great variation in formal account penetration

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Although there is an overall positive relationship between GDP per capita and rates of account holding among coun- tries in the sample, differences of twenty percentage points or more are not uncommon be- tween countries with similar income levels. For example, over 40% of residents of Kenya have a formal account while less than 10% of Benin’s residents do.