Financial inclusion is among the better examples of how mobile phones are producing positive outcomes in areas other than simple communications.
Some 66 percent of people globally without a bank account do have a mobile phone. In India and Mexico more than 50 percent of the unbanked have a mobile phone; in China 82 percent do.
That represents about 1.1 billion people who can, in principle, use a mobile phone to conduct banking and financial transactions.
Thanks to mobile banking, 69 percent of adults now have an account, up from 62 percent in 2014 and 51 percent in 2011.
In high-income economies 94 percent of adults have an account; in developing economies 63 percent do.
The Global Findex database reports that 515 million adults worldwide opened an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider between 2014 and 2017.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 21 percent of adults now have a mobile money account, nearly twice the share in 2014, and easily the highest of any region in the world.
Globally, 52 percent of adults have sent or received digital payments in the past year, up from 42 percent in 2014, the World Bank reports.
The share of adults with a mobile money account has reached about 20 percent or more in Bangladesh, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia, and Paraguay.
Globally, about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked — without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider.
Virtually all these unbanked adults live in the developing world. Indeed, nearly half live in just seven developing economies: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Some 56 percent of all unbanked adults are women.