3 March 2023 6 minute read

Financial inclusion: what is it and why does it matter?

Creating a fairer future for businesses around the world starts with financial inclusion. Discover how alternative banking providers are making international payments work for everyone.
What is financial inclusion and why does it matter?

Is it foolish to suggest that every business around the world deserves access to banking and financial services? We don’t think so. Helping those with limited access to essential services is a crucial component of economic development today.

Financial inclusion plays a huge part in our mission at 3S Money. We aim to eliminate economic discrimination by breaking down the banking barriers that restrict business growth and innovation.

What is financial inclusion?

Financial inclusion is the practice of enabling as many enterprises and people as possible to access financial services and products, without discrimination on the grounds of nationality, country of residence, or class, for example.

The United Nations has defined inclusive finance as ‘universal access, at a reasonable cost, to a wide range of financial services, provided by a variety of sound and sustainable institutions.’ 
Many global, financially inclusive institutions, such as 3S Money, provide a lifeline for businesses in developing countries where accessing fair financial services is even more challenging. 

In short, inclusive financial services are need in a global, technological age. And their goal? To break down the financial barriers that stop business owners from achieving their dreams.

How are inclusive financial services different?

Inclusive financial services are different from traditional banking in various ways.

Firstly, they’re free from the structural shackles that weigh down high street banks. Over centuries, these institutions have developed bureaucratic structures that hamper their ability to keep up with the agile practices of contemporary businesses. 

Additionally, inclusive finance service providers have been built from the ground up in a deeply connected world. They understand the need to ensure full access to their services. These inclusion and universal access values are at the centre of their identities. This often isn’t the case with traditional banks. 

Inclusive financial services are generally more geared towards the connected modern world, taking advantage of the benefits of the internet to deliver efficient products to a wider audience.

Having developed alongside this connectivity and being so in tune with today’s business or consumer needs, Fintechs have deconstructed and rebuilt the financial industry - changing the game forever.

Why are inclusive financial services important?

It’s no secret that limiting companies’ access to finance can have negative consequences. Inclusive, sustainable finance sounds good on paper, but why specifically is it so revolutionary? Let’s look at the impact global ethical finance initiatives can have on business owners, entrepreneurs, and the economy:

Business owners

Owners of SME businesses are always looking to take that next step and develop into profitable, innovative enterprises. However, those smaller businesses lack access to the services they need to level up. Their growth ability is restricted when the only option is a traditional, bureaucratic, risk-averse bank.

Inclusive digital finance changes all that. Financial inclusion offers business owners the opportunity that’s often absent with traditional banks: the chance to take that next step in their business development by accessing global financial services.

The more access these business owners have, the greater their ability to innovate and grow.


Innovative and potentially world-changing concepts don’t see the light of day when financial services are closed off.

Pioneering entrepreneurs with big ideas often have all the ingredients to succeed but lack the international services needed to make those ideas a reality. Inclusive finance gives entrepreneurs the tools to challenge global monopolies, transform entire industries, or create new ones. 

At this very minute, the next Steve Jobs could be struggling to get their business off the ground, and inclusive finance can allow them to change the world for the better.

The economy

Centuries of commercial development have shown that competition is the key to prosperity.

Competition generates growth and motivates companies to improve their services to benefit consumers. Without competition, monopolies grow, leading to stagnation and a lack of innovation.

Inclusive financial services open the door for dynamic, innovative companies of smaller sizes, helping them gain a foothold in the market and challenge established companies.

Examples of inclusive financial services

Now, let’s get into the specifics. Inclusive financial services is a broad term and can refer to a whole host of different offerings, including:

Microfinance institutions provide essential services to people who don’t have access to standard banking.

These organisations tend to pop up in developing economies, offering ethical microloans for businesses and additional financial education. In short, their main goal is to allow struggling people to become self-sufficient.

Electronic money institutions (EMIs)

EMIs are technology-driven institutions that offer innovative online payment systems to a wide range of businesses. These core services are digitally focused on streamlining and improving business processes.

EMIs, such as 3S Money, aim to give as many companies access to their services as possible, enabling growth with tools such as international online business accounts.

Mobile banking

Mobile banking is one of the older innovations within the digital banking sector. Inclusive mobile banking services allow account holders to access and manage their accounts remotely. 

his gives people access to their money at the press of a button and has benefits for both personal and professional accounts. This is a lifesaver for individuals or businesses in areas with poor local bank infrastructure.

Community banks

Rural areas can be adversely impacted in an increasingly global economy powered by urban financial hubs.

Set up for businesses and individuals in small regions, sustainable banking based in local communities solves that issue with relationship-driven services.

Community banks often offer small loans to local companies who may struggle to find the same service at bigger, international banks. Many community banks are locally owned and managed, meaning they’re not at the mercy of corporate structures.

What prevents business owners from accessing financial services?

Outdated local banking infrastructure

Despite their bureaucratic processes, risk-averse outlook, and outdated infrastructure, traditional banks are the only option for business banking. Fortunately, things are starting to change. 

The advancement and reduced cost of technology means that’s there more opportunity to access financial services. With our help, international entrepreneurs won’t face any financial barriers when building their businesses internationally.

Economic discrimination

Economic discrimination can play a huge role in preventing people and businesses from taking advantage of financial services. As we’ve already mentioned, traditional banking is intrinsically risk-averse.

If businesspeople with unique economic circumstances don’t tick conventional boxes, they can’t access the financial products they need to be successful – regardless of how enterprising or driven they are. 

Ethical finance and inclusive financial services offered by new, technology-driven institutions help to stamp out this discrimination.

Companies such as 3S Money cut unnecessary bureaucracy and provide streamlined services that reflect 21st-century attitudes towards eliminating discrimination.

What’s more, these benefits aren’t just restricted to the UK. For example, we offer online business banking solutions in 190+ countries and a cross-border payments ecosystem to help international businesses grow.

The inefficiency of traditional banking

Many traditional banks were founded centuries before the internet was even an idea. Compared to the agility of younger businesses, their structures are rigid, their processes sluggish, and their attitudes resistant to change.

This lack of adaptability has hampered many businesses’ efforts to contribute to the global economy. For many entrepreneurs, the arbitrary stroke of a pen has ended their business ambitions.

Fintech companies and their innovative products have seismically impacted the entire financial sector. These new financial institutions have made international payment systems accessible to everyone.

By rejecting bureaucracy and a lack of transparency in favour of accessibility, innovation, and openness - inclusive financial services lead the way to a brighter financial future.

We’re not here to trash banks. They have their place and remain essential in a well-oiled economic machine. However, we’re confident that the next generation of business account providers will undoubtedly be EMIs.

The story of 3S Money

3S Money is an institution born out of frustration with these uncreative bureaucratic services that exclude so many individuals.

Scaling a business internationally is never easy, but these old-school banking systems made it even more challenging for driven entrepreneurs with big dreams. 

Our founders discovered this first-hand after they started their own business in the Netherlands. After launching their company, they couldn’t access Dutch banking services due to their non-Dutch passports. Frustrated with unnecessary banking bureaucracy blocking their company from growing, they created the solution themselves.

With our online Interntaional Business Account, the colour of your passport is irrelevant. Since 2018, we’ve been helping international businesses survive and thrive. In 2022 alone, we processed over $3 billion in client payments globally.

A desire for inclusivity has been at the core of our organisation since day one, and it won’t be going away any time soon.

How can partnering with 3S Money help your business?

For businesses all around the globe, we have the tools to boost your ability to evolve in a modern international marketplace. Here are just a few of the benefits that come with signing up with 3S Money:

High-value cross-border payments in 190+ countries

Banking borders are a thing of the past with 3S Money. Our international accounts offer access to local banking networks and payment rails, ensuring businesses suffering from financial exclusion never miss out again.

Levelling the playing field

We’ve helped level up thousands of companies worldwide. Our human-led approach to compliance means we can work with businesses in high-risk regions that traditional banks might otherwise decline.

Deepening global and local economic connections

Local economies can get left behind when access to financial services is lacking. Our commitment to financial inclusivity in business will help deepen global and regional economic partnerships.

Removing barriers

We’re not interested in hampering progress. We accept shareholder and directors  from in 190+ countries - giving every entrepreneur the confidence to trade globally and pay locally.

Open a 3S Money Standard International Business Account

3S Money is leading the charge in the digital banking revolution, giving small and mid-sized businesses around the globe access to innovative services. With an international focus, we aim to provide fairer financial services to every business that needs them. 

Traditional banks and a lack of innovation have stood in the way of inclusivity for too long – the time for change is now. 

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