Back to projects

Exploring Causes, Effects, and Solutions to Financial Illiteracy and Exclusion among the Unbanked

Project by Polygence alum Abhinav

Exploring Causes, Effects, and Solutions to Financial Illiteracy and Exclusion among the Unbanked

Project's result

Research paper

They started it from zero. Are you ready to level up with us?


Americans across demographic groups tend to have low financial literacy, with low-income people and minorities at highest risk. This opens the door to the exploitation of unbanked low-income families through high-interest alternative financial services. This paper studies the causes and effects of financial illiteracy and exclusion in the most at-risk demographic groups and solutions proven to bring them into the financial mainstream. This paper finds that immigrants, ethnic minorities, and low-income families are most likely to be unbanked. Furthermore, the causes for being unbanked include high fees to have a bank account, the inability of Americans to maintain bank accounts due to low financial assets or time, banking needs being met by Alternative Financial Services, and being provided minimal help while transitioning from welfare to the workforce. The most effective solutions to financial illiteracy and exclusion include partnerships between nonprofits, banks, and businesses that provide alternative financial services to transition the unbanked into using products that meet their needs, educating the unbanked in the use of mobile banking, and providing profitable consumer credit products targeting unbanked families with features that support their needs in addition to targeted and properly implemented financial literacy programs.



Polygence mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


Quantitative, Social Science, Languages, Business


Economics, Macroeconomics, Finance, Business, Economic Policy, Applied Math, Statistics, Econometrics, Data Analysis, Algorithms, Optimization




Hi! My name is Abhinav and my Polygence project explores financial literacy and exclusion. I chose to work on this project because of my passion to alleviate poverty through economics and business in low-income communities and countries. After my project is complete, I would like to implement the solutions I have found through this project to positively impact my community.


Monta Vista High School

Graduation Year


Project review

“I really liked that deadlines, meeting times, and reminders were sent through emails. I think it helped me keep track of timing and a lot of other important details. The platform was extremely easy to use and the messaging system was good because I could see all the shared docs on the right side.”

About my mentor

“She was extremely helpful and knowledgable about everything. She was extremely kind and supportive and helped encourage me. I definitely think Laura was a great mentor and that she inspired me to do further research in college. I wasn't sure about doing economics in college since I was focused on business but this project inspired me to apply to an Economics major in a few colleges. This is all thanks to Laura! Overall very kind person and really cared about my project (she would stay over time sometimes if I needed extra help) and also adjusted to issues we faced during meetings (internet crashes, time zone issues, etc.)”