Modern finance relies heavily on credit scores, a statistical number which signifies a consumer’s creditworthiness. These credit scores are based on payment and credit history, accumulated via digital payment and banking methods. A credit score is necessary to be able to buy a house, finance a car, or even to be approved for shopping online. Consumers with high credit scores are deemed trustworthy and enjoy financial benefits such as:
Lower interest rates on loans
Easily approved loans
Access to the best credit cards
With only 54% of the population in developing economies holding accounts at formal financial institutions, compared to 94% in high-income economies, these regions are still highly unbanked and are therefore not granted access to the same benefits as banked populations.
The 2015 Global Findex report cited the total number of unbanked global citizens at 2 billion, with access to financial and/or mobile accounts in Sub-Saharan Africa greatly lagging. As credit scores rely heavily on data mining a consumer’s credit and payment activity, or their “digital footprint”, billions of cash-dependent consumers are essentially excluded from basic credit activity, such as taking out a loan, receiving credit card approval, and even making online purchases.
Mobile technologies and mobile money are fostering financial inclusion