In his 2015 annual letter, Bill Gates focuses on the underbanked. He believes the key to helping this demographic is the mobile phone. Gates predicts that by 2030, 2 billion people who don't have a bank account today will be storing money and making payments with their phones. And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance.
Instead, the poor use financial services that are extremely inefficient. They save by hiding cash around the house or buying commodities that lose value over time. When they send money to friends and relatives to help them through tough times, they either take a day off and deliver the cash themselves or trust someone else to do it for them. If they need to borrow money for an emergency, they have to pay usurious interest rates to a moneylender. Not having access to a range of cheap and easy financial services makes it much more difficult to be poor. But in the next 15 years, digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives.