Digital financial technology, and particularly the accelerated adoption of mobile phones around the world, has facilitated expanding access to financial services to hard-to-reach populations and small businesses at low cost and risk, according to the World Bank[1]:

  • Digital IDs make it easier than ever before to open an account

  • Digitization of cash-payments is introducing more people to transaction accounts

  • Mobile-based financial services bring convenient access to remote areas

  • Greater availability of customer data allows providers to design digital financial products that better fit the needs of unbanked individuals

Massive lack of financial access in certain fast-developing countries has its hidden advantage in the long term for the economic and innovative potential of those nations. Having no long-established infrastructure and no traditional path of usage of financial services in a large part of a country, non-urban in particular, developing nations get to learn from the history of others and jump through stages of development, building the next generation of banking infrastructure and all associated niches from the ground up. China is one of the countries leapfrogging ahead in its adoption of advanced technologies across industries.

Since the early 2000s, Chinese policymakers have prioritized broadening the availability of basic financial products through improvements in credit and payments infrastructure, expanding physical access points for rural consumers, and establishing new types of financial service providers, the World Bank[2] reports. And China has achieved considerable success in expanding uptake of a basic but essential financial instrument: the store-of-value transaction account. In 2014, 79% of Chinese adults reported owning at least one store-of-value

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