COVID-19 led to a global rise in the use of digital payments

Washington, June 29, 2022—Kovid-19 epidemic encourages financial inclusion মধ্যে Digital payments are growing exponentially amid the global expansion of formal financial services.

According to the Global Findex 2021 database, this expansion has created new economic opportunities, narrowed the gender gap in account ownership, and created resilience at the family level to better manage financial shocks.

The epidemic has led to an increase in the use of digital payments. In low- and middle-income economies (excluding China), more than 40% of adults who made a payment using a card, phone, or Internet store or made an online payment did so for the first time since the epidemic began.

The same is true for more than a third of adults in all low- and middle-income economies who have paid a utility bill directly from a formal account. In India, more than 80 million adults paid their first digital merchant money since the epidemic began, while in China more than 100 million adults did.

In East Asia and the Pacific, financial inclusion is a two-part story

Inside East Asia and the Pacific Ocean, Financial inclusion is a two-part story of what is happening between China vs. other economies in the region. In China, 89% of adults have an account, and 82% of adults use it to pay digital merchants.

In the rest of the region, 59% of adults have an account and 23% of adults have made digital merchant payments – of which 54% have done so for the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic. Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand have achieved double-digit increases in account ownership, while the gender gap across the region is lower, at 3 percentage points, but the gap between poor and rich adults is 10 percentage points.

Two-thirds of adults worldwide now make or receive digital payments

With two-thirds of adults worldwide now making or receiving digital payments, participation in the developing economy has risen from 35% in 2014 to 57% in 2021. In developing economies, 71% have an account with a bank, other financial institution or with a mobile money provider, up from 63% in 2017 and 42% in 2011. Mobile money accounts have seen a huge increase in financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The digital revolution has catalyzed the growth of access and use of financial services around the world, the way people pay and receive, borrow and save.” Says David Malpas, President of the World Bank Group. “Creating a viable policy environment, promoting the digitization of payments, and further expanding access to formal accounts and financial services among women and the poor are some policy priorities to mitigate developmental reversals from the ongoing overlapping crisis.”

For the first time since the launch of the Global Findex database in 2011, surveys have found that the gender gap in account ownership has narrowed, helping women gain more privacy, security and control over their finances. Since the last survey round in 2017, the gap has narrowed from 7 to 4 percentage points worldwide and from 9 to 6 percentage points in low- and middle-income countries.

About 36% of adults in developing economies now receive a wage or government payment, payment for the sale of agricultural products, or a domestic remittance payment to an account. Data shows that people who pay into one account instead of cash can start using the formal financial system – when people receive digital payments, 83% also use their accounts to pay digitally. About two-thirds used their accounts for cash management, while about 40% used to save – further boosting the financial ecosystem.

Despite progress, many adults around the world still lack a reliable source of emergency money. Nearly half of adults in low- and middle-income economies say they can access extra money with little or no difficulty during emergencies, and they usually return to unreliable sources of money, including family and friends.

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