By Libertad Digital.

That the whole planet has access to basic financial services is essential for social development. Companies like Banco Santander realize this, and that’s why they launch programs like TUIIO in Mexico.


Globalization is the result of the reduction of trade barriers between countries and the progress of telecommunications and the Internet, among other factors. That’s why, services offered by companies are much more accessible from anywhere on the planet. However, what seems logical still isn’t happening in some corners of the world.

Not everyone has access to essential basic financial services to advance and prosper in society. It is therefore thegreat challengethat companies face nowadays.

The importance of financial inclusion

Financial inclusion aims to give everyone, regardless of age, race, or origin, access to the basic financial services that meet their needs. The World Bank defines the term as transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance. They are essential elements for development, not only of the individual, but of an entire country or continent.

In the developed world there is no scenario which does not involve a bank account or a loan that allows a small business to start. Financial inclusion is so important that it directly influences 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 set by the UN.

Signed by 193 countries, they include the Agenda 2030, which sets targets such as zero hunger, quality education, gender equality, and decent work. Without financial inclusion there is no work or economic security and, therefore, there is no investment or development.

Former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recalled that financial services “stimulate savings, investment, job creation and growth”. They also empower women, who are at risk and left out the most.

Goals

Universal access to financial services to eradicate poverty has been set as a priority by various international organizations. Here are some of the instruments through which this can be achieved:

  • Encourage digitization of cash payments in the public and private sector. It is estimated that more than 200 million adults who do not have a bank account, are paidin “cash”.
  • Normalize the use of digitalforms of identification in order to facilitate the opening of accounts in places where it is difficult to reach a branch.
  • Educate people on basic financial topics.
  • Incentivize mobile technology in the banking field.
  • Adapt financial products to the characteristics of each region.
  • Ensure that all countries have specific regulations for financial transactions.
  • Achieve equality in terms of competition and access points.

Initiatives that work

Not only are international organizations involved in this great goal, but so are large companies, NGOs, and the countries themselves. In fact, as much collaboration as possible is needed. There are several initiatives that already work:

  • National financial plansfor inclusion. Thanks to external aid, countriessuch as Mexico and Pakistan are developing financial inclusion strategies like increasing access points, improving education in the sector, and digitizing payments.
  • Role of the banking sector. Large entities want to attract more and more customers acrossthe world, so they help those who have trouble accessing financial services. For example, Banco Santander has promoted TUIIO in Mexico, a project that offers personalized products for people who want to start a business and find it very difficult to reach basic banking resources. The plan providesdigital savings accounts, insurance, branches, and even a basic financialeducation program. Banco Santander aims to help 280,000 small entrepreneurs across the country.
  • Technology.Technology is the main pillar of financial inclusion. Some companies are betting on the success of a banking revolution. Like bKash, in Bangladesh, is a mobile financial services company that has helped turn devices into instruments for sending and receiving money.
  • Patron age and NGOs. NGOs are also aware of the importance of financial inclusion. One of them is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which promotes projects for financing society’s poorest, with special focus on the development of technologies for accessing financial services from remote corners of the world and the inclusion of women in the system. “The impact is astonishing. Women gain decision-making power at home and invest in the prosper of their family and their environment,” says Melinda Gates.