Access to credit may have a direct effect on achieving United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in ending poverty, improving health and education, and reducing inequality. In this paper, we systematically review the growing empirical evidence on whether individuals’ demographic characteristics (such as gender and race) and socio-economic features (such as income and education) effect their ability in accessing credit. Our survey covers peer reviewed articles providing empirical evidence, using quantitative and qualitative data, published between 2000 and 2020 (February). We find that having more education and/or being more financially literate increases households’ and entrepreneurs’ access to credit. Individuals with lower income and less wealth are less likely to obtain credit from the mainstream financial institutions. In emerging countries, women are more likely to be rejected and deprived from formal credit, and pay higher cost. Non-Whites, ethnic minorities, disabled people and immigrants are also more likely to be excluded from the formal credit markets. We find that abovementioned credit deprived segments of the society resort to fringe finance providers, such as pay-day lenders or pawnbrokers, with higher costs. These findings are remarkably similar across developed and developing countries. Finally, we provide direction for further research in achieving SDGs through financial inclusion and access to credit by highlighting various shortcomings of the existing literature and empirical evidence.