BIS study finds global fintech gender gap

BIS study finds global fintech gender gap

There is a significant global fintech gender gap, with men far more likely to use financial technology products and services than women, according to a survey from the Bank for International Settlement (BIS).

Despite concerted efforts to improve financial inclusion, women remain unbanked or underbanked relative to men: they have lower access to transaction accounts, credit and other financial services.

Fintech is often cited as potentially powerful tool for democratising financial inclusion but the BIS survey suggests there is also a gender gap in adoption rates of fintech products and services.

Using a novel survey of over 27,000 adults from 28 major economies, BIS found while 29% of men use fintech products and services, only 21% of women do. The gap is present in almost every country covered and is roughly the same size for products provided by fintech entrants and those offered by traditional financial institutions.

The survey finds that part of the gender gap can be explained by the fact that women report worrying more about their privacy when dealing with companies online, being less willing to share their data with fintechs for better offers and being less willing to use fintechs for better or more innovative products.

Importantly says BIS, accounting for attitudes towards new financial technology and the willingness to use fintech entrants if they offer cheaper services narrows the fintech gender gap significantly.

To the extent that the gender gap on fintech use is explained by discrimination or by social norms and conditions that disadvantage women, "policy interventions may be necessary to enhance the inclusiveness of fintech services," says the paper.

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