Be it at a credit union or bank, 50% of adults worldwide say they have an account at the financial institutions.
According to a Gallup and World Bank study of more than 150,000 persons age 15 and older in 148 economies, a number of factors determined whether it was possible to have an account at a bank, credit union, cooperative, post office or microfinance institution. Among them, household earnings, gender, urban versus rural locations, and income disparities.
Penetration is nearly universal in several European countries, such as such as Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, where virtually all adults report having an account, according to the study.
The opposite is true in several African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, and Niger, where 4% or less of the adult population has a formal account. Regionally, account penetration is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (24%) and the Middle East and North Africa (18%).
The research showed in high income countries, there was little difference in account ownership between the rich – those whose household earnings are in the top income quintile of a country –
and the poor -- those whose earnings are in the bottom income quintile.
In East Asia and the Pacific region and the Latin America and Caribbean region, where income disparities are high and development may be concentrated in particular areas, the study revealed that the rich are, on average, more than three times as likely to have a formal account as the poor within a country, the data showed.
Globally, 60% of those living in urban areas have a formal bank account, compared with 44% of those living in rural areas.
Fifty-five percent of men have an account, compared with 47% of women. Women were also more likely to report not having an account because someone else in the family already has one. Gallup found that that women having ownership over their own assets had an effect on household education and healthcare budget decisions.