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Polygence Scholar2022
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Abhinav Shanbhag

Monta Vista High SchoolClass of 2023Cupertino, California


Hi! My name is Abhinav Shanbhag 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 ideas/solutions I have found through this project to positively impact my community.

Project Portfolio

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

Started Apr. 12, 2022

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Abstract or project description

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.