Governments should initiate steps to enhance the use of digital payments in emerging countries to increase financial inclusion, empower women and spur economic growth, according to a World Bank research report.
The report, funded by the Better than Cash Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, examines growing evidence from around the world about how digital payments offer immediate benefits for both senders and receivers in developing economies, as well as the ability of such payments to increase citizen access to affordable financial tools.
The report also highlights how digital payments help increase the financial independence of women by moving them from the limitations of a cash-only economy and connecting them with the financial mainstream.
The report concludes that the establishment of digital payments for remittances instead of cash is of enormous benefit to poor people in emerging markets and also contributes to financial development. This could also help address concerns about the transparency and traceability of remittances.
Leora Klapper, lead economist at the World Bank Development Research Group, said: "The benefits of digital payments go well beyond the convenience many people in developed economies associate with the technology.
"Digital financial services lower the cost and increase the security of sending, paying and receiving money. The resulting increase in financial inclusion is also vital to women’s empowerment."