Around 75 percent of Jordanians above the age of 15 still don’t have bank accounts, according to a new report from the Jordan Strategy Forum (JSF).
The report from the economic think tank, which examined the state of financial inclusion in the Kingdom, also revealed that approximately 85 percent of women don’t have bank accounts.
Jordan’s figures were still higher than the region’s average. According to the World Bank’s “Global Financial Inclusion Index,” in developed countries financial inclusion was close to 100 percent, compared to 69 percent in East Asia and the Pacific and only 14 percent in the Middle East.
The JSF report said that having more banked individuals is a win-win situation for the individuals and the country. Access to financial services enhances the wellbeing of families, reduces income inequality, promotes entrepreneurship and real economic growth. It also helps banks’ bottom lines that rely heavily on retail banking.
To encourage more Jordanians to set up bank accounts, the JSF suggested simplifying the requirements for opening an account, reducing the age of those allowed to open a bank account to 15 from 18, promoting pre-paid banking, discouraging employers from giving the wages in cash, and encouraging banks to widen their geographical reach to include rural areas.