Australians are vulnerable to loan sharks, with one in seven people finding it hard to access basic financial services, a study has found.
Close to 2.7 million adults would have difficulty raising $3000 in an emergency and many lack access to basic banking services, the NAB/CSI Financial Exclusion Indicator found.
NAB Group CEO Cameron Clyne said financial exclusion needed to be better understood.
"Financial exclusion can often lead to a debt spiral, where people who do not access financial services from banks instead turn to fringe or unregulated lenders who can charge prohibitive interest rates," Mr Clyne said.
"This study, which for the first time measures the extent of financial exclusion in Australia, will enable governments, the financial sector and community organisations to better plan for the financially excluded into the future."
Among the obstacles to accessing basic financial services are the high cost and the lack of promotion and accessibility.
The study also found that internet banking was used by only 54.5 per cent of the population and access to ATMs in rural and remote areas was more difficult than in urban areas.
Those with low levels of education, or who were born overseas with English as a second language, were aged under 24 or over 65, or unemployed were also more likely to be financially excluded.
Mr Clyne said that, as a country with a well-regulated and well-managed financial services industry, people should not suffer financial exclusion.