Digital currency and digital payment methods for the unbanked are either inaccessible or highly costly. These payments come at a price that needs funding to reach out and seamlessly include this vulnerable community sector.
In 2020, the US Senate introduced legislation that required member banks and financial institutions to provide digital pass-through accounts (digital wallets) to citizens, residents, and businesses domiciled in the United States. The legislation stipulated those statutes specify accounts must provide selected banking services to eligible customers who elect to deposit funds into these accounts. Additionally, the proposed proposition states that there are NO fees or balance requirements, although these accounts do have a specified interest rate.
These governmental steps towards greater [financial] inclusion is banking’s last mile. Recent statistics on America’s unbanked suggest that over seven million households continue to be unbanked. The majority of these people are Black, Hispanic, or Native American, predominantly less-educated and low-income, disenfranchised, vulnerable, and reliant on federal governmental aid.
This last mile towards financial inclusion is hindered by an inherent lack of trust in the banking industry and their necessary historical financial requirements, such as having a minimum balance and associated banking fees.
Governmental legislation is not the only assistance the last mile has. Digitization and technology also aid the unbanked. Youtap and similar FinTechs provide simple, efficient answers to the underbanked. By working in conjunction with the government, the financial world, with its ongoing technological development, is cognitively assisting the unbanked.
This practice is not exclusive to the United States. The emergent, developing world, mired in systemic poverty and reliant upon remittances, is ready to become an active part of the 21st century. They are becoming connected, digitized, and globalized. Their last mile is becoming the first step towards financial inclusion and independence.