COVID-19 drives global digital payment surge – World Bank




The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred financial inclusion–driving a large increase in digital payments amid the global expansion of formal financial services, the World Bank has said.

This expansion, the global lender stated, created new economic opportunities, narrowing the gender gap in account ownership, and building resilience at the household level to better manage financial shocks.

According to the Bank, the pandemic has also led to increased use of digital payments.

The Bank noted that in low and middle-income economies (excluding China), over 40 per cent of adults who made merchant in-store or online payments using a card, phone, or the internet did so for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

For World Bank Group President, David Malpass, “The digital revolution has catalyzed increases in the access and use of financial services across the world, transforming ways in which people make and receive payments, borrow, and save.

“Creating an enabling policy environment, promoting the digitalization of payments, and further broadening access to formal accounts and financial services among women and the poor are some of the policy priorities to mitigate the reversals in development from the ongoing overlapping crises.”

A report by Global Findex 2021 database say the same was true for more than a third of adults in all low- and middle-income economies who paid a utility bill directly from a formal account. In India, more than 80 million adults made their first digital merchant payment after the start of the pandemic, while in China over 100 million adults did.

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