Fair Digital Finance Forum: Uniting the finance sector and consumer advocates for a fairer future
Digital technologies are becoming a key enabler for consumers of financial services, shaping payments, lending, insurance and wealth management around the world. In low-income countries, the proportion of account owners using digital transactions grew from 57% in 2014 to 70% in 2017 and by 2024 digital banking consumers are expected to exceed 3.6 billion.
Helena Leurent, Director General of Consumers International said, “Whilst offering great potential for economic growth, rapid financial digitalisation poses risk and unfair outcomes for consumers, with these issues likely to disproportionately affect consumers experiencing economic hardship. Innovative and regulatory approaches are now key to match rapid change in the financial sector and ensure that consumers everywhere are protected.”
Across the five days the Fair Digital Finance Forum will feature forward-looking and unique events including workshops and interactive panels where participants will answer key questions such as:
- What can be learnt from the pandemic for the global regulation of fairer digital financial services?
- What does the future of consumer advocacy look like in the sector?
- What innovative approaches will bring about consumer centred change?
A multi-stakeholder perspective helps amplify World Consumer Rights Day
Importantly, the event aligns with World Consumer Rights Day on Tuesday 15 March - a pivotal moment for the consumer rights movement. On this day, global consumer rights groups will raise awareness on fair digital finance through creative and strategic campaigns across many different contexts. The Forum will bring the voice of these advocates into multi-stakeholder discussion with regulators, FinTech experts and government representatives so that a fairer future can be mapped out together.
To set the tone for the week, senior leaders will open the event with a focus on the ‘Consumer Vision of Fair Digital Finance’. Here, they will present recommendations to decision-makers based on good practice, current opportunities and risk. Subsequent days will each follow pertinent themes on how to make digital finance safe, data protected and private, and sustainable.
Key research and initiatives announced
To address pressing issues in digital financial services, the week will announce new initiatives and research, such as those which help reach and empower those at risk of and lacking access to digital finance in low- and middle-income countries. As a culture of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) has taken a global hold over the last year, with BNPL products growing by 85% between 2020-2021, latest research will be showcased on safeguarding vulnerable consumers. On the final day, young leaders will outline the role of the next generation in creating a fairer future.
Digital financial services and financial technologies are driving dramatic shifts in how the marketplace pays, lends and manages wealth. The Forum will be key to building knowledge and collaborative working to understand what fair finance looks like in a digital world, and what role consumer-centred financial services can play in global challenges.
Selected highlights from the Fair Digital Finance Forum:
- Consumer Advocacy - A Catalyst for Change in Digital Finance, Monday 14 March
11:00-12:00 GMT| 12:00-13:00 CET | 07:00-08:00 EDT | 19:00-20:00 HKT | 22:00-23:00 AEDT
- Accelerating Fair Digital Finance in Low and Middle Income Countries, Monday 14 March
15:30-16:30 GMT | 16:30-17:30 CET | 11:30-12:30 EDT | 23:30-00:30 HKT | 02:30-03:30 AEDT
- "Buy Now Pay Later" and the Consumer Experience, Wednesday 16 March
19:30-20:30 GMT | 20:30-21:30 CET | 15:30-16:30 EDT | 03:30-04:30 HKT | 06:30-07:30 AEDT
- Next Generation Consumers and Finance of the Future, Friday 18 March
09:00-10:00 GMT | 10:00-11:00 CET | 05:00-06:00 EDT | 17:00-18:00 HKT | 20:00-21:00 AEDT