Having a Bank Account Means Very Little
The number of South Africans who use their bank account simply as a storage tool – making one withdrawal a month and then transacting using cash – rose to 11 million in 2015 from 9 million in 2014, indicating poor financial inclusion, a recent study finds.
FinScope South Africa, an annual consumer survey conducted by UK aid-funded FinMark Trust, finds that 84% of adult South Africans (16 years and older) are formally served by the financial services sector, either through a bank account (77%) or a non-bank financial product.
The quality of that financial inclusion is questionable, however, with an alarmingly low 31% of survey respondents saying that when buying a product or service it is explained to them. By implication, nearly 70% of people are receiving no or very little information about the financial products and services they use.
Just 44% of respondents said they are satisfied with the financial products and services they are using, with only 43% stating that since using financial services they feel much more in control of their finances.
“This is not necessarily about creating another product but helping people to navigate existing products in a more opportune way,” said Rob Powell, CEO of consulting company TNS South Africa, which conducted 5 000 face-to-face interviews between July and September as part of the research.