Only 48% of Indian adults have access to a bank account?

India has the highest account dormancy rate among seven countries: 2014 cross country survey on financial behaviour by InterMedia & Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dec 02, 2014 12:12 IST India Infoline News Service

The Financial Inclusion Insights program (, operated by global strategic research consultancy, InterMedia, and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shows that India has the highest account dormancy rate of the seven countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) assessed in its 2014 cross country survey on financial behaviour.
While 48% of Indian adults have access to a bank account, the highest rate of the seven countries, 47% of Indian accounts lie dormant. The survey findings  also highlight that fewer than a quarter of Indian bank account users use advanced bank services, while only 0.3% of Indian adults use mobile money services - the lowest among the seven countries surveyed.
InterMedia's report on the survey, Financial Services and Digital Pathways: A comparison of the nationally representative FII surveys conducted in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh includes analysis of financial behavior by gender, geographic location, urban/rural location, and other key socioeconomic factors.
Gayatri Murthy, InterMedia's Research Manager for India said, "We hope that the information contained in this study will enable policy makers, regulators, and bankers to identify priorities to improve financial inclusion, design focused initiatives to push the inclusion agenda, and most importantly, measure the progress made."
Girindre Beeharry, Director, India Country Office, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, "This study challenges the notion that financial inclusion is merely a matter of opening bank accounts. Hopefully its findings will mobilise further innovation in the sector, and further promote the potential of digital technology in ensuring that all Indians - wherever they may live - can access the financial services they need."  
This unique survey, to be repeated annually, is based on interviews with 45,024 Indians aged 15 years and above. The survey evaluates access and use of formal financial services, mobile devices, mobile money services, as well as barriers and potential for future use.
Some key conclusions are:
  • The gender gap in the use of bank services is substantial (17%) in India, despite India coming in only second to Nigeria in the percentage of both men and women who are registered, active bank account users. The widest relative gender gap is in Pakistan
  • India has the lowest proportion of adults who are aware of or have every used mobile money
  • Despite the large percentage of bank account holders, the majority of Indians borrow money from family and friends, not formal financial institutions.
These findings, along with the rest of the survey, will be discussed at the 'Inclusive Finance India Global Summit' in Delhi on 8th and 9th December, organised by ACCESS, a national think tank.

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