Financial Inclusion in East Asia and Pacific

A woman cleaning rice in the wind in Vietnam.
Cleaning rice in the wind, Vietnam. Photo by Thao Vu Xuan, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest.

Financial inclusion in East Asia and the Pacific region is well below the world average. According to the latest edition of the Global Findex which provides data for 2021, only 59 percent of adults in the region have an account. This figure excludes China, where account ownership is much higher, at 89 percent. Notably, there is a significant variance within the region, with account ownership ranging from only 33 and 37 percent of the adult population in Cambodia and Laos, respectively, to 96 percent in Thailand.

The COVID-19 pandemic drove the use of digital payments, as 54 percent of those who made a digital payment did so for the first time after the onset of the pandemic. Overall, only 23 percent of adults in the region (excluding China) made digital merchant payments.

Gender gap in financial inclusion

The gender gap in account ownership within the region is one of the lowest globally, at just 3 percentage points. Most countries have a gender gap well below the developing economy average of 6 percentage points, highlighting the progress that has been made in promoting gender equality in financial inclusion across the region. Only Thailand and the Philippines exhibit gaps of 6 and 8 percentage points, respectively. However, the continued existence of a gender gap shows that there is still room for improvement in reducing gender disparities in account ownership in the region.

Financial resilience

Financial resilience represents individuals' or households' ability to withstand unexpected financial shocks, such as sudden job loss or unforeseen expenses. Access to formal financial services, alongside other factors such as government policies, social safety nets and cultural norms, can contribute to boosting financial resilience. Unfortunately, in five out of nine countries in the region, fewer than 20 percent of adults can generate emergency funding within 30 days without difficulty, with Indonesia at only 11 percent. These statistics underscore the importance of promoting financial resilience and bolstering financial inclusion efforts in the region.


Key Financial Inclusion Data

Account Ownership

Percent of adults age 15+ with an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider
Source: Global Findex Database

Gender Gap in Account Ownership since 2011

Percent of adults age 15+ with an account. Regional data excludes high-income economies.
Source: Global Findex Database

Use of Financial Services

Percent of adults age 15+. Regional data excludes high-income economies.
Source: Global Findex Database

Knowledge Resources by Country

Explore the knowledge resources we have available on the following countries in East Asia and Pacific:

Australia Lao PDR Solomon Islands
Cambodia Malaysia Thailand
China Mongolia Tonga
East Timor Myanmar Vanuatu
Fiji Papua New Guinea Vietnam
Indonesia Philippines  
Japan Samoa  
Learn about financial inclusion in other regions: 

Europe & Central Asia  |  Latin America and the Caribbean  |  Middle East & North Africa  |  North America  |  South Asia  | Sub-Saharan Africa  |  Global


Financial Access of Women-Owned Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Viet Nam

This working paper identifies challenges in access to finance for women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises  in Viet Nam and recommends ways to improve it.


Financial Digitalization and Its Implications for ASEAN+3 Regional Financial Stability

This publication explores how digitalization is shaking up the finance industry in ASEAN+3 economies, outlines risks and opportunities, and suggests ways of protecting regional financial stability.

Guide / Toolkit

Implementation Guide for the G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion

A guide and self-assessment tool for policymakers in various stages of digital development.