Access to safe and affordable financial services – or financial inclusion – is vital to help individuals and communities improve their livelihoods.
In Australia, financial exclusion is a real economic and social problem. Research shows up to three million Australians don’t have access to basic financial services, impacting the decisions they make for themselves and their families.
It could be they have limited access to reliable services and technology, or lack the literacy and numeracy skills to understand what’s appropriate for them.
When safe and affordable banking and credit options seem out of reach, it can make unregulated ‘payday’ loans seem very tempting, often making difficult financial situations worse.
People whose families are in crisis are also at higher risk of experiencing financial exclusion. Research shows 80 per cent to 90 per cent of women who seek support from domestic violence services have also experienced financial abuse.
By helping improve financial literacy, we can empower individuals to take control of their lives and take steps to protect themselves and their children.
Solving this problem would not just help those affected, but the economy as a whole. Studies show if just 7 per cent of Australia’s excluded improved their financial position, Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by a $A19.7 billion.