This story is from the 2015 Access 25. Explore more from this issue

Unbanking

A wealth of new services are shaking up the banking sector.

According to the U.S. government, as many as 68 million Americans don’t have bank accounts or debit cards. That’s not uncommon elsewhere. The World Bank reports that 2.5 billion people — just over half of the world’s adult population — don’t use formal financial services. What fills the gap? PayPal. “Mobile money” services that let users transfer funds to individuals via phone. And payment platforms such as Apple’s Apple Pay and Alipay from Alibaba. While both allow you to buy items online or in physical stores, Alipay also allows users to make international transactions and even invest in stocks.

The upshot: Brick-and-mortar banks might not be going the way of Blockbuster stores yet, but the early signs are there.

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