In recent years, the growth of digital financial services, and more particularly mobile money, has been at the center of financial inclusion initiatives in various countries, notably in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Financial inclusion is featured as a prominent enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals, yet various constraints and barriers prevent eligible adults from accessing digital financial services. Policy and regulatory factors affect the environment in which these services are provided, practical barriers affect an individual’s ability to access and utilize digital financial services, and social and cultural factors affect the customer’s adoption and usage of and trust in digital financial services or its providers. This brief explores the barriers and constraints that hinder digital financial inclusion efforts in jurisdictions that have unbanked populations. It offers recommendations to policymakers and financial sector supervisors on adopting a risk-based approach that overcomes these challenges and enables expanded provision of mobile money and other digital financial services to realize financial inclusion objectives.

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