As the cost of technology decreases, the number of people able to afford smartphones, tablets and computers increases. This also brings with it access to information and services that can be utilized with these devices, and in particular, banking options. In many developing countries – or even low-income residents of developed countries – there are few financial resources available. However, as smartphones and tablets become more widespread, banking may be able to reach almost anyone.
In a recent American Banker article, author Jason Oxman explained that investing in mobile banking can help close the gap between actually opening up brick-and-mortar branches on all areas of the globe, and the thousands who don't have access to any financial services. In turn, helping members of this demographic save and invest can allow a way out of poverty.
For banks, it doesn't seem reasonable to open services to those in developing countries, since the lack of funds may not prove to be as profitable as for more wealthier areas. But, as Oxman points out, citing data from the World Bank, the four billion people who earn less than $3,000 a year, or the "base of the economic pyramid" collectively make up $5 trillion – something investors may be more interested in.
Additionally, tools like credit and risk management software and loan processing software can also help banks and other financial institutions provide services to low-income customers or those in the developing world in much more affordable ways than in the past. By helping these customers take out loans and earn money from their deposited funds, the billions who live in poverty may soon be able to work their way out, while also providing banks with greater rewards and greater profits.