In 2018, four out of five South Africans — 80% — had bank accounts, according to non-profit research organisation FinMark Trust. On the face of it, it seems that financial inclusion is making steady progress. On closer examination, that 80% figure doesn’t tell the whole story.

FinMark went on to note that in 2018. 40% of those bank accounts were either dormant — they hadn’t been accessed in 30 days; or “mailboxes” — accounts from which all money is withdrawn as soon as it enters...

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