Financial Inclusion Report (IIF)

Nine out of ten adults in Argentina have, at least, a bank account according to end-2020 data presented in the Financial Inclusion Report (Informe de Inclusión Financiera, IIF) published today by the BCRA. The report for the second half of 2020 also highlights a significant increase in the use of electronic means of payment and electronic transfers in the face of the pandemic and social distancing measures: twice as many transactions as cash withdrawals at automated teller machines (ATMs).

Bank account coverage. More than 31 million people had at least a bank account by the end of 2020. Thus, bank account coverage reached 91% of the adult population, a relatively high rate compared to other countries with similar income levels. Over 2020, three million people opened bank accounts for the first time to collect social aid benefits aimed at addressing the needs of the most vulnerable segments.

Electronic means of payment. For every 100 cash withdrawals per adult, more than twice as many transactions were made through electronic means of payment (222, up 19% against 2019). Electronic transactions can be broken down as follows: 110 transactions with debit cards and 77 with credit cards, 28 transfers, and 7 transactions with prepaid cards. For every cash withdrawal at an ATM, two payments were made electronically, which shows an increase in transactions boosted by the Transfers 3.0 program—intended to bring payment methods together, including payment through a QR code.

Electronic transfers. In turn, electronic transfers also recorded a strong increase, going up around 90% in 2020: online banking (86%) and mobile banking (167%). Likewise, online payment transactions with debit cards grew 227% in the same period, increasing their share by 15 percentage points (p.p.) in total electronic transfers.

Access for blind people to the financial system. Al least 10% of ATMs must be fitted with voice-guided systems and standard embossed keyboards, among other requirements. By the end of 2020, 7,561 ATMs were so equipped, which accounts for 43% of total ATMs. Financial institutions across all provinces provide coverage for visually impaired people.

Financial health. This is a relatively new term that appears in the Report. It involves the comprehensive assessment of people´s finances for improving their performance. Financial health focuses on their spending, saving, borrowing, and planning, which will enable them to be resilient and seek financial opportunities over time. The BCRA will include these aspects in its reports and financial education programs.

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May 7, 2021.

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