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We study the impacts of a comprehensive financial inclusion program in a uniquely remote, insecure, low-trust setting, lacking bridging institutions to facilitate sustained interventions. We evaluate this program by randomly assigning treatment to 40 villages in East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea. The program involves two days of financial literacy training, timely offers of no-fee bank accounts with reduced administrative hurdles, and savings ‘nudges’. We use survey and administrative data to measure its impact on financial literacy, budgeting and savings behaviour as well as on the ownership and use of bank accounts. Although 25% of adults in treatment villages attended the training and two-thirds of participants opened a bank account, we fail to detect any significant effects from the intervention. Our results draw into question the benefit of initiatives that aim to ‘bank the unbanked’ and would suggest that efforts are redirected towards people already in the cash economy.