For low-income, migrant and gig workers, fintech innovation could pave the way to financial inclusion

SINGAPORE (Nov 19): The hot topic of “financial inclusion” is often discussed in the context of reaching out to the ‘unbanked’ in emerging markets such as India, China and Indonesia. In contrast, a developed market like Singapore would seem to have achieved financial inclusion; some 96% of Singapore residents aged above 15 possess bank accounts, according to 2014 World Bank statistics. But dig deeper, and one can still find gaps.

Take the example of Singaporeans who need a loan to study abroad, says Jamus Lim, associate professor of economics at ESSEC Business School. Loan amounts are limited and would barely cover a year of tuition fees of a US university, he says. In this case, traditional financial institutions do not account for the earnings potential of the student after graduation.   

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