Postal financial inclusion brings people excluded from the formal financial sector into a financial system using the postal network as a gateway. Either the Post offers its own financial services or partners with a financial institution to give access to such services.
With more than 600,000 post offices in the world, the postal presence in rural areas is unmatched by any other network. The UPU is building on that strength to help Posts provide rural citizens in developing countries with financial services such as postal savings accounts, government payments, loans and insurance, as well as a secure, reliable, efficient and affordable service for international and national electronic money orders. Offering such services to the unbanked can lead to poverty reduction and increased economic participation.
Several Posts are already key players in financial inclusion: the Postal Savings Bank of China has 475 million customers; Brazil’s Correios opened 11 million accounts in 10 years through a partnership with a bank; Namibia Post banks 20% of the country’s total population; India Post holds 240 million savings accounts and covers risks for more than 20 million people through its postal life insurance policy; Papua New Guinea Post offers a mobile wallet and is one of three main national competitors for mobile financial services; Serbia Post makes 150 million financial transactions a year in a country of 10 million inhabitants.
The UPU is also helping Posts develop and expand their electronic money transfer services. The remittance market is hampered by restrictive laws, low levels of competition and costly fees, leaving customers, especially migrant workers, vulnerable. There is a strong need for a more streamlined system of sending remittances.
The UPU has entered into valuable partnerships with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank, the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as others, to research and develop financial inclusion through the postal network.