Although more than 30 million Mexicans — more than half the adult population — have no bank account, retirement plan or insurance, the number that do has risen 12% in one year.
The national statistics institute’s National Financial Inclusion Survey said nearly 56% of adults are “unbanked,” meaning they remain outside the financial system and keep their money in their homes.
But those with some kind of financial product — checking account, savings account, retirement plan or insurance — were up from 56% to 68% between 2015 and 2016.
Meanwhile, fully 92% of the adult population prefer to pay for goods or services in cash.
The head of the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) said the survey showed significant growth in the penetration of financial services between 2012 and 2015, particularly among rural women.
And it’s not just the number of participants that is up, said Jaime González Aguadé, but the amount of money involved.
The number of adults with a savings account increased from 25 to 34%, those with insurance from 16 to 19% and those having a retirement plan from 20 to 31%. For rural women, who more often than not are found well outside the financial system, the numbers doubled, from 19 to 38%, exceeding those of men in rural areas, said González.
While the numbers may be up, 14% of adults without a bank account had had one previously. Half no longer had an account because they were no longer employed and didn’t need an account to receive their salary, 10% had had a bad experience with the financial system and an equal percentage weren’t using the services. Five per cent didn’t have enough money for an account.
Credit card use was also up, the survey found, though very slightly. There were 22.7 million cards in circulation last February, up 192,722 over February 2015. But that was a big change over the 2015 figures when the number of credit cards in use dropped by half a million.
The amount of credit card debt was up 7% in February, to about 326 billion pesos (US $17 billion).
Source: Milenio (sp)