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The Cash-Only World: Two Billion People and Shrinking Fast

Five surprising findings from a World Bank survey on who's financially included and excluded
Swiss Currency Following Swiss National Bank's Decision To End Franc Cap
Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

About 2 billion adults worldwide are "unbanked," down from 2.5 billion in 2011, the World Bank says in a new report based on a survey of about 150,000 people in more than 140 countries. Unbanked people are frozen out of the financial system and must deal strictly in cash: no deposits, no checks, no mortgages, no ATMs. The World Bank report—released on April 15, conducted in conjunction with Gallup World Poll, and paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—has some surprises: 

Increasing financial inclusion is crucial, the World Bank report says: