In the past few days, India and Nigeria both announced significant financial inclusion initiatives which, though they differ in approach, should dramatically improve the number of consumers in each country that have access to traditional banking and payment products and services.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a plan that aims to provide bank accounts to 75 million households by 2018, which will have two account holders per household so as to enable women to play a larger role in the management of household finances. Under the scheme, new account holders will receive a debit card and accident insurance cover of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,654) and also get overdraft coverage of up to 5,000 rupees ($82.6).
The government plan relies on the support of local retail financial institutions to help register the millions of unbanked consumers, but certain obstacles may hamper the goal of broader financial inclusion. One is the lack of identity documents among the poor of India; another is that millions cannot read or write.
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