Based on new research, Mastercard found that, among those that are excluded financially in Europe, one-third are employed full-time, while 35 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34.
In a press release highlighting the new research Monday (Dec. 12), Mastercard said 138 million Europeans are financially cut off from society, which means they don’t have a bank account or payment method. What’s more, the research found 87 percent of the financially excluded people that took part in the survey said they have lived in the same country their entire lives. The survey showed 38 percent pay their rent in cash, and 88 percent pay for all of their other amenities in cash. Among those that are cut off financially in Europe, Mastercard found a “vastly increased proliferation of technology,” with access to technology via smartphone usage increasing at a significant rate. Nevertheless, a quarter still find it hard to access financial products and services, showcasing there is a disconnect between using technology and using technology to access financial products and services.
“While the findings on financial inclusion are troubling, given the sharp increase in access to technology, like smartphones, it is clear that the road to financial inclusion is a digital one. By tapping into the rapid rise in technology, we can develop new solutions to ensure everyone in Europe has access to the financial system. This will directly improve millions of lives and benefit us all by encouraging a fairer, more equal society,” said Ann Cairns, president of international for Mastercard, in the press release highlighting the research results. “For many people, the concept of exclusion is often seen as a developing markets problem, but today’s report shows clearly that this is as much of a problem in the perceived developed markets of Europe as it is around the world. Exclusion has a serious impact on a person’s quality of life, denying them basic benefits and choice, including increased protection, convenience and access to the global economy. That the tools and technology are readily available to those who are in need of inclusion demonstrates that this is a solvable problem and one that partnership, education and innovation can easily solve.”
Mastercard noted a need to rely on cash all the time leaves people vulnerable to loss or theft of money, as well as payment disputes. As a result, this group could be forced to seek alternative payment methods, due to cash flow issues, which can lead to debt.