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The Role of Digital Financial Inclusion in Preparing for Older Age and Retirement (World Bank, 2019)

Feb. 14, 2020 Share Source
On July 8th, 2019, the Better Than Cash Alliance and the World Bank joined forces to publish a report titled, "The Role of Digital Financial Inclusion in Preparing for Older Age and Retirement" using research from the Global Findex Database 2017.

The report aims to inform payments policies interested in financial services that cater to older demographics by drawing from the World Bank's Global Findex Database, the Gallup World Poll and secondary studies, and should be read in conjunction with the G20’s Fukuoka policy priorities.

Excerpts from The Role of Digital Financial Inclusion in Preparing for Older Age and Retirement

"Globally, the number of people aged 60 years or over has more than doubled since 1980, and the share of older adults is projected to double again by 2050... Financial exploitation is one of the most common forms of elder abuse, and vigorous consumer protections are needed to ensure that digital financial services benefit the elderly.

A range of new digital applications aims to help older adults and their families with financial management in older age. The effectiveness of such apps depends in part on the financial knowledge of care providers.

"In fact, receiving advice from someone who lacks financial skills can easily leave older adults worse off."
" The Better Than Cash Alliance and The World Bank "The Role of Digital Financial Inclusion..." p.22

The World Bank’s Global Findex database provides a general indication of the potential market for automatic savings contributions. A third of adults worldwide report receiving wage payments in the past year, with 21% of adults receiving wages digitally, 10% receiving them in cash and 2% receiving them in some other way. That means 1.8 billion adults worldwide receive wage payments, including about 1 billion who receive such payments digitally. Most of these wage earners live in low- and middle-income economies, including nearly 645 million digital wage recipients."

Key findings

  • A lack of pensions and savings among large proportions of adult populations presents a significant challenge in many countries.
  • Digital financial services can help people to prepare better for the financial challenges of old age.
  • Financial services present risks for older adults, and strong consumer protections are vital.
  • Globally, 230 million private-sector workers do not have bank accounts and receive wage payments in cash.

The paper concludes that the proportion of adults with access to digital technology and financial services "dwindles with age, potentially in ways that are detrimental to their financial well-being." All the more reason to ensure a payments landscape that caters to all with a harmony of payment options that everyone can use.

(World Bank, 2019, p. 23)

Last Updated: April 7, 2020

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