The use of formal payment services
has seen the largest increase, courtesy of the digital transformation of financial service provision. But there are critical voices against the drive against cash, though – as Ruth pointed out – these are mostly based in advanced rather
than developing countries and might have very different motives in mind than financial inclusion. Though why would we expect so many to give up cash in favour of formal (and thus monitorable) financial services? I would argue because the better and cheaper
availability of formal financial services moves the cost-benefit trade-off of working and living in the formal economy towards the benefits. Where some see Big Brother looming, most of us see the benefits of participating in the modern formal market
economy and society.
As Gallup surveys people across many different topics, the question arises whether there is something special about asking individual about their financial habits. And yes, indeed, people are more
reluctant to talk about finance. But as, importantly, there many local differences, not just in products and service providers, but also habits, which requires a rather careful “localisation” of the survey questions across the globe.
Finally, where will be in 2020, when the next Global Findex survey will go into the field? We all hope for further rises in financial inclusion, though the increase might be not as steep as over the past six years. The
role of technology will certainly increase further. Among the challenges, the gender gap might be harder to narrow – value questions asked by Gallup seem to point to persistent gender biases among both men and women in some countries when it comes
to joint account ownership and financial decision-taking. Finally, there are the unknown unknowns – as the first members of Generation Z reach adulthood and the Millennials will increasingly dominate the bankable and banked population across the globe,
especially in developing countries, there might be further changes in habits and outreach efforts by providers (and some of these providers will be new). Certainly, exciting times are ahead!