2022 Survey on El Salvador’s financial inclusion

By Karla Ramos  |  Dec 1st, 2022
Financial Exclusion SurveySan Salvador. Image by @CASALMEX

The Salvadoran Central Reserve Bank (BCR) presented the results of a survey regarding the financial inclusion of the Salvadoran population. The surveys asked Salvadorans about savings accounts, loans, insurance, having retirement or pension accounts, Cryptocurrencies, and using traditional or digital financial channels.

Financial inclusion is a problem affecting the majority of Salvadorans and most small and medium businesses. Visit our article “Financial inclusion, a problem that affects many Salvadorans and businesses” to learn more about this issue.

The financial inclusion survey was conducted from July 6 to July 30 in all 14 departments and included both the rural and urban populations. Here are some of the results!

Financial Inclusion Survey

Savings account in a financial instititution

According to the survey, only 28% of Salvadoran adults have a savings account. Also, more males (32%) have bank accounts than females (24%). The 2022 total is 5% higher than in 2016 when only 23% of Salvadorans responded having a savings account.


89% of respondents say they don’t have loans. Of the 11% percent that has credit, 43% said they have a business loan, and 41% a personal credit. 54% expressed that they have never solicited credit, and 19% said they don’t care or don’t need it.

Insurance products

Most Salvadorans do not use insurance. 87% responded having no insurance. The principal reason for not having insurance is cost (43%), followed by 22% who answered that they do not need it or believe they are necessary.

Retirement or pension accounts

Saving for retirement is another problem Salvadoran society faces; low wages and working in the informal sector are the principal reasons. According to the survey, only 18% responded that they had a retirement or pension account. 42% stated that they didn’t have a formal job to contribute, and 34% noted that they did not have money.

Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin

14% of those surveyed stated that they used cryptocurrencies, with 97% of them using the Chivo Wallet application. 65% said they used the digital wallet for commercial payments, and 20% used it to transfer funds to others. Speed of transactions, trust, and lower costs were the principal reasons for using a digital wallet.

Using traditional or digital financial channels

Most Salvadorans who have banking services prefer to use traditional banking services instead of digital ones. People responded that in the last 12 months, 50% had used a banking agency and 28% ATMs. Only 13% said they had used mobile banking, and 7% internet banking.

El Salvador’s 2022 financial inclusion survey

The survey shows that individuals living in rural areas of El Salvador are financially excluded the most; two reasons why this tends to happen are working in the informal sector and having to travel long to access these services.

On June 2022. the Salvadoran Legislators approved reforms to Facilitate Financial Inclusion that simplifies the requirements when opening bank accounts. These changes could help more people access savings accounts, credits, and insurance services.