Note from the Publisher: In the US, we take for granted that ALMOST everyone has a bank account. While it’s still a large number, only 10 million (around 3%) of the US population is “unbanked” or “underbanked”, according to Wikipedia. Contrast that with Southeast Asia, where that number is a whopping 73% of the population, totaling 438 million households. So again, while we like to focus on American fintech where we can, it’s worth noting that financial technology can – and is – having a profound effect on the lives of those outside the US, particularly in developing countries. And fintech using mobile is where it’s at in these economies.
“When I first embarked on my career in e-payments many years ago, I was surprised to learn that banking services, which most people in take for granted, are far from available to bulk of Southeast Asia’s 600 million plus population.
According to KPMG, in 2016, only 27 per cent of Southeast Asia’s population have a bank account. That’s some 438 million unbanked. In poor countries like Cambodia, this number falls to just 5 per cent.
McKinsey did a similar study in 2010 on the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked. Asia’s emerging markets were identified as a hotbed of unbanked. The same study suggests that reaching the unbanked population in ASEAN could increase the economic contribution of the region from $17 billion to $52 billion by 2030.”