More Australians are having difficulty accessing emergency funds through mainstream financial services.

More than 300,000 West Australians do not have adequate access to day-to-day financial products such as a basic banking account, car insurance or even a credit card, a landmark study has revealed.

The research by the Centre for Social Impact - backed by the University of Western Australia - shows the ability to secure as much as $3000 in funds for an emergency through the mainstream financial system is becoming increasingly out-of-reach for Australians.

Instead, more people are relying on family or friends or turning to fringe credit products, such as payday lenders, who regularly charge substantially higher interest rates than banks.

Such products have seen a surge in uptake in recent years.

The report, to be released today, and partly funded by National Australia Bank, found even a moderate amount of credit was crucial to accessing key household goods that go beyond a monthly budget, such as a washing machine.

The lack of access to banking services impacted on people's ability to pay for basic household items such as electricity, telephone, food, clothing, car-related expenses, repairs, rent, education, health and repayment of other debts.

The report reveals 12,500 West Australians have no financial service products and an additional 293,000 are severely excluded, with only one service.

Residents in south east Perth are among the nation's top regions for financial exclusion, with more than one in five without access to basic banking services. That was 33 per cent more than the national average.

Regional West Australians also rated highly, with 20 per cent unable to access appropriate and affordable financial services.

South western Perth (18.7 per cent) and central Perth (18 per cent) also were below the national average.

Eastern Perth (11.9 per cent) was among the nation's most well-off areas, followed by northern Perth (13.3 per cent) and south western Perth (15 per cent).

Wollongong in NSW tops the nation with almost 7 per cent of adults without access to basic banking services.

The cost of basic financial services was the prime cause of financial exclusion, according to the research. The average annual combined cost of banking, credit card and either car or home insurance is $1794 annually.

A survey of financially excluded people also found the level of official identification needed to establish an account was often a hurdle, while many banks denied personal loans of less than $5000 as a personal loan, instead steering customers to credit cards that they were unable to access.

The distance to a bank branch, language and literacy challenges and poor credit records also were hurdles.

The report found capital city areas tended to have higher levels of access to credit, but lower levels of access to insurance, while country areas have lower access to credit, but very high levels of access to insurance, particularly car insurance because public transport is limited.

Many financially excluded people were reliant on government services such as Centrelink and also used fringe credit providers, such as payday lenders.

NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne accepted the banking industry was partly to blame, conceding it needed to lift its game by providing affordable products to more people.

''The absence of access to mainstream financial services does preclude people from advancing socially and economically,'' he said.

''Often it's the unexpected expenses [such as] if the car breaks down or someone needs to get to a job interview.

"There's an obligation for the banking system to improve financial inclusion."

The report comes just days after the federal Treasurer Wayne Swan brokered an agreement with the banking industry to provide free ATM transactions for Indigenous people in remote communities.

The study found the number of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders severely excluded from access to day-to-day financial services is more than double the national average, with 43 per cent operating outside the mainstream banking system.

While there are efforts to improve access to basic bank accounts and efforts to promote low cost credit products, there is a substantial gap in general insurance where there is little movement about delivering affordable insurance products.

- with Eric Johnston