MORE than half of the Asian adult population has better access to financial services in the region, according to Telenor Asia's new "Digital Lives Decoded" study.

The study — released on Monday in conjunction with Telenor's 25th anniversary in Asia — surveyed over 8,000 mobile internet users across Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to Telenor, 92 percent of respondents said mobile usage has increased their access to financial services.

A screenshot showing different online financial services to avail. Based on a study by Telnor Asia, more than half of Asia’s adult population have access to financial services, thanks in part to technology and the internet. SCREENSHOT BY AARON RONQUILLO
A screenshot showing different online financial services to avail. Based on a study by Telnor Asia, more than half of Asia’s adult population have access to financial services, thanks in part to technology and the internet. SCREENSHOT BY AARON RONQUILLO

Around 57 percent of the respondents said their access to financial services has "significantly improved."

In addition, people in the Philippines (29 percent) and Thailand (25 percent) depend most on their mobile phones for communication, financial, health care and education access.

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This dependence is set to grow, with nearly 3 in 4 people (74 percent) expecting their mobile usage to increase in the coming years.

The findings of Telenor seem to be in line with information provided by analysts of the financial service firm Robocash Group.

Both the financial mobile app UnaCash and online credit service Digido are used by Robocash Group to conduct business in the Philippines.

The group's study examined the financial and digital payment adoption rates in the Philippines. It concluded that access to the nation's financial services is rising.

It estimates that current account holders now make up 51.4 percent of the population, an increase of 1.5 times.

Even more impressively, mobile account ownership has increased fivefold to 21.7 percent, while the percentage of people who possess credit and debit cards has increased by 3 percent to 15.9 percent.

The data also reveals that general savings, which also expanded from 11.9 percent to 19.2 percent, were growing simultaneously as the country's borrowing went from 10.7 percent to 17.5 percent.

These developments are particularly notable since they position mobile money, digital lending and savings accounts among the most promising fintech (financial technology) industries in the Philippines.