The ATM Industry Association has published a new study on the role of cash in financial inclusion.

Access to Cash: the First Step toward Financial Inclusion presents an international picture of the importance of cash and ATMs in reaching 2 billion financially excluded persons who have no bank account.

According to an ATMIA press release, the publication includes case studies from Brazil, Kenya, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

“This is the best paper I’ve seen on the truth about financial inclusion in the midst of reams of fake news generated in recent years by the anticash lobby,” ATMIA CEO Mike Lee said in the release. “It argues persuasively, in a fact-based approach, that removing cash from campaigns to include the unbanked in financial services would represent a gargantuan governmental folly, creating unbridgeable social and class divides in future.”

The paper was researched and written by Paris-based Agis Consulting and defines the role of cash in an electronic age, especially for the economically disadvantaged.

“A transition away from cash would only serve to isolate the unbanked and the underserved from the rest of the population,” said Guillaume Lepecq, author of the study. “Efforts to eliminate financial exclusion must take into consideration the ways in which those who make up the unbanked are already marginalized.”

The new study concludes that cash remains a vital part of the transition from exclusion to inclusion.

“As cash is the only form of payment devoid of any prerequisite conditions for access, efforts to liberate people from financial exclusion should, instead, encourage its use,” the report says.

New study correlates access to cash, opportunity