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Atlanta Fed delivers payments inclusion report

Payments Dive

Given advances in the digitization in payments and an interest in creating economically resilient individuals, the Atlanta Fed undertook a study over about two years that resulted in the report titled “Promoting Payments Inclusion in a Digital Payments Era: A report of the Special Committee on Payments Inclusion.” The committee and the research focused on why and how some people can’t or won’t tap the benefits of digital payment tools.

In publishing the 40-page report, the Atlanta Fed said it was particularly concerned about low- and moderate-income households or cash-reliant individuals not being able to benefit from the proliferation of digital payment options, which offer more convenience, among other advantages. It noted that an increasing number of businesses prefer cards or digital payments and may make it disadvantageous to pay with cash.

“The percentage of the US population that lacks credit or debit cards is significant and extends beyond the ‘unbanked’ population,” the report said. “The lack of a payment card or an account at a financial institution can keep this population from accessing innovative digital payment solutions.”

The committee pinpointed seven reasons for some people not being drawn into the digital payments ecosystem. Those barriers included identification or documentation required for digital financial services; lack of access to technology, like broadband internet access; “high and/or unpredictable fees”; unstable or volatile income flows; some businesses not accepting digital options; fraud concerns and limited financial and/or digital education.

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