ATMIA: Cash key to financial inclusion

One of the big challenges facing the global financial services industry today is improving financial inclusion.

There has been encouraging progress on this front over the past decade or so, with the latest Global Findex from the World Bank, published in April 2015, showing that the number of people with a bank account increased by 700 million between 2011 and 2014.

More than six out of ten global citizens (62 percent) had an account in 2014, up from 51 percent in 2011. However, there are still some two billion people who are ‘unbanked’, so there is still a lot of work to do to address the issue of financial exclusion.

The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) recently contributed to the discussion around this issue with a report outlining the importance of cash in ensuring that no communities or parts of the world are isolated from the financial system as a whole.

Researched and written by Agis Consulting, the paper puts forward the case for cash and ATMs in reaching the two billion people still without a bank account. It features case studies from Kenya, the UK, Brazil and the Philippines.

Mike Lee, chief executive of ATMIA, argued that the study provides a response to “reams of fake news generated in recent years by the anti-cash lobby”.

He added: “Cash is embedded in cultures and monetary systems around the world. People trust cash as a store of value and it remains a means of payment that can be used by absolutely anyone at any time.”

Guillaume Lepecq, author of the study, added: “A transition away from cash would only serve to isolate the unbanked and the underserved from the rest of the population.”

The International Organization for Standardization last month published a new series of standards designed to open up the platforms and technologies required to drive financial inclusion through mobile banking.

 

Image: iStock/Wara1982

Written by Jack Dougal