Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) includes 26 developing countries that range from small island nations to large economies, such as Brazil and Mexico, with wide diversity in income levels and financial sector development. With 51% of adults having an account at a formal financial institution, financial access in Latin America is at similar levels to Europe and Central Asia and South Asia, but lagging behind East Asia and developed economies.

The region made good strides in 2014 bringing the poor into the financial system, including 40 million adults who received government payments into accounts.

Nearly 41% of the adult population has saved money in the last year, with 14% of them doing so at a formal financial institution. Conversely, credit is more commonly taken from family or friends (13%) than from a formal financial institution (11%), but this gap narrowed since 2011.

Around 28% of adults make payments directly from their account using a debit card, as compared to 14% in developing countries on average. Yet big opportunities remain to boost usage: 135 million adults have an account, but pay their utility bills in cash.

Sources: Global Findex, Population Reference Bureau, World Bank