Digital Money Adoption Would Bring Banking to 220M, Says Citi

A spike in digital money usage would help narrow the amount of underbanked individuals across the globe, but many countries are slow to progress.

According to the March Towards Digital Money report, which assesses the progress of 90 countries via the Digital Money Index — developed by Citi in tandem with Imperial College London — a 10% increase in the adoption of digital money alternatives across the globe would allow an additional 220 million people access to the modern world of finance.

Digital money is a simple, effective way to transact, arguably making it an ideal medium for bringing formal financial products to the world’s underbanked; however, this presupposes that the countries in question will have the available resources to support the necessary technologies.

This could contribute to why these 90 countries tracked by Citi are not progressing towards digital adoption unilaterally. According to the report, “materially ready” countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany have seen an average improvement rate of 3% from 2014 to 2017.

Meanwhile, “incipient” countries like Argentina, Uganda, and Algeria, saw an average improvement in digital adoption of about .5% in the same period.

The countries which have seen the most development in their digital money environments belong to the “in-transition” category; Citi noted an overall improvement of 4% for the group which includes countries like China, Thailand, and Mexico.


This is the fourth year Citi and Imperial College London have released the report.

There are few countries that have moved more rapidly than others; Bangladesh, which falls into Citi’s “incipient” category, garnered an 8% increase in its score on the Index from the results reported in 2016.

The full report  may be viewed here.

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