Household usage of financial services around the world and Ukraine

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Article(UKR)(.pdf)

Under the Findex dataset, paper suggests a comparative assessment of the usage of financial accounts by groups (developing countries, high-income countries, and Ukraine). Authors outlines the barriers, which arise while using financial services and both socio-economic (income level, employment), and demographic characteristics (gender, age) of users. The increase of account holders, who make payments using mobile phones and the Internet, was marked. Simultaneously, women and poorer users have less access to these technologies, both among the banked and unbanked population. In contrast to world indicators in Ukraine, the level of financial account ownership is the same for both women and men, but there is a gap between richer and poorer, and a gap across the active labour force. Having analysed the unbanked population’s causes and characteristics, Ukrainians’ distrust of financial institutions was a significant barrier to account ownership. An overview of the indicators of financial account usage to make public payments, receive wages in the private sector, settlements with business (utility payments, domestic remittances, payments from individual entrepreneurs) is under consideration. The intensification of digital payments in Ukraine is observed in comparison with the majority of developing countries. The holders use debit cards more often in developing countries as well as in high-income countries and Ukraine. It is highlighted that financial account ownership does not indicate the population’s addiction to use it to accumulate savings. In general, the level of financial inclusion from the demand side is growing globally, and faster in developing countries, including Ukraine, due to the outspread of mobile phones and the Internet. There is more active usage of financial services in high-income countries, despite inequality in age, gender, employment. Although Ukraine usage indicators correspond to the average, the level lags far behind the indicators of high-income countries. It has been revealed that people in high-income countries owning financial account are more likely to be economically active, to save and borrow from financial institutions than those living in developing countries, who prefer informal ways of saving and lending. A low level of penetration of deposits and loans among individuals was noted alongside activation of non-cash payments. It is substantiated that the high level of financial inclusion of the population depends not only on the possession of a financial account but also on its usage mechanisms. The ways of increasing the use of  financial services are identified, such as mobile payments, digitalisation of private and public payments, and an increase in financial literacy.

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