Three-quarters of adults (75%) in Bangladesh live on less than $2.50 a day. For them, saving money is fundamental to building a better and more secure future. The percentage of Bangladeshis with formal financial services accounts almost doubled from 20% to 37% between 2013 and 2017. Financial inclusion among the rural poor grew faster than among the population as a whole – and stood at 34% in 2017 compared to 30% in 2016.
The growth in formal financial services accounts in the last year mainly reflects the increase in the number of adults who are mobile money account holders (18% in 2017 versus 13% in 2016); unregistered over-the-counter (OTC) use did not increase in 2017. However, OTC users (27% of adults) still far outnumber registered users, preventing users from taking advantage of advanced features, such as electronic bill payments. The growing prevalence of phones and phone skills, such as text messaging, means a high proportion of the population has the potential to convert to registered mobile money use. Beyond sending and receiving money, however, engaging adults in more advanced mobile money activities remains a challenge.