Financial Inclusion: A Strong Critique

18 Pages Posted: 21 May 2020 Last revised: 15 Mar 2021

Date Written: 2021


This article presents some criticisms of financial inclusion. It notes that (i) financial inclusion is an invitation to live by finance and leads to the financialisation of poverty; (ii) some of the benefits of financial inclusion disappears after a few years; (iii) financial inclusion ignores how poverty affects financial decision making, (iv) it promotes digital money which is difficult to understand, (v) financial inclusion promotes the use of transaction accounts; (vi) financial literacy does not improve financial inclusion in a significant way; and that (vii) some financial inclusion efforts bear a resemblance to a campaign against having cash-in-hand. This study will help policymakers in their assessment of the economic, social, political and cultural factors that hinder financial inclusion as well as the consequence of financial inclusion for society. For academics, this study will provide a critical perspective to on-going financial inclusion debates in the large positivist literature on financial inclusion.

Keywords: financial inclusion, criticism, poverty, digital money, digital finance, financial literacy, blockchain, fintech, formal accounts, inequality, decision making, financial education, finance

JEL Classification: E44, G15, G18, G20, G21, G28

Suggested Citation

Ozili, Peterson K, Financial Inclusion: A Strong Critique (2021). Available at SSRN: or

Peterson K Ozili (Contact Author)

Central Bank of Nigeria ( email )

Abuja, 0187

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