Globally, Young people access financial services at roughly half the rate of adults. According to the World Bank’s Global Findex database, youth are 40% less likely to save at banks and 60% less likely to have borrowed. Without these services, young people have fewer means to manage their assets, invest in education, or grow businesses. In response, youth inclusive financial services programs are working with regulators, financial services providers, and informal savings group promoters to increase young people’s access to appropriate savings, credit, payment, and insurance products. At the same time, recognizing that youth often lack the knowledge or experience to use services effectively, programs are offering financial education and life-skills training and information to boost financial capability.
Over the past three years there has been a growing awareness of the importance and viability of finance for youth among service providers. However, overall access has not changed significantly, with the proportion of youth savings and borrowing formally barely changing. In response, youth-inclusive practitioners are looking more closely at the potential of new technologies to boost access and capability - at digital payments and mobile wallets to lower the costs of providing services, “big data” to help banks understand the youth market and reduce the risk of lending, and smart phones to offer new convenient and inexpensive means to teach financial education to youth. At the same time, there is renewed interest in old technologies such as savings groups to expand access to youth. Through these new and old technologies, practitioners are working to boost financial inclusion significantly among youth.