ACCELERATING FAIR DIGITAL FINANCE IN LOW- AND MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES
Digital financial services are transforming people's lives worldwide.
With access to credit, savings and loans, families can prepare for financial shocks, young people can invest in their future, and women are empowered through increased financial independence.
But if people are to really benefit from financial inclusion, digital financial services must protect and empower consumers, everywhere.
Through the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator, Consumers International is helping consumer associations in low- and middle- income countries fight for a future where consumers everywhere can embrace advances within the sector, through services which are inclusive, safe, data-protected and sustainable.
The Fair Digital Finance Accelerator
Consumer advocates drive change through diverse advocacy channels and strategies, such as working alongside policy-makers to ensure regulation guarantees consumer protection, legal action, market research and complaints handling. For more, read our report with CGAP.
The Fair Digital Finance Accelerator leverages this power and scales the potential of consumer associations.
More than 40 consumer associations across the world, from Latin America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia are currently in the Fair Digital Finance Network. They protect vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers including women, children, older people and hard-to-reach communities. This vibrant and committed group see great potential for consumer protection within digital finance, by improving safety, data-protection and privacy and implementing effective consumer dispute and resolution mechanisms.
Consumers International offers Network Members:
- Access to a global community of financial service consumer advocates and experts
- Platforms, events and opportunities to build and strengthen advocacy channels with regulators
- Training modules designed for consumer advocates on cutting edge themes and coaching to drive local action
- Coordinated consumer advocacy campaigns at national and regional level
- Thought leadership and knowledge building, including case studies and our annual publication on the state of digital financial services in low- and middle-income countries
- Opportunities to apply for support for research and projects.
The Fair Digital Finance Advisory Panel ensures the Accelerator is on the cutting edge of developments in digital finance policy and regulation. It is made up of policy experts and senior leaders from across consumer advocacy, business, regulation and civil society.
Head of Financial Inclusion and AgriTech, Mobile for Development,GSMA
Tribuna Ecuatoriana de Consumidores y Usuarios
Deon Woods Bell
Senior Advisor, Global Policy, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
SPO Consumer Protection and RegTech, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Juan Carlos Izaguirre
Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
Senior Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
Maria Lúcia Leitão
Head of Banking Conduct Supervision Department, Central Bank of Portugal (Banco de Portugal)
Financial Sector Specialist, CGAP
Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury & Economic Planning.
Rosemary Shumirayi Chikarakara Mpofu
Executive Director, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
CEO, Financial Sector Deepening Kenya
Deputy Managing Director, Better Than Cash Alliance
Director of Digital and Financial Regulatory Policy, Consumers Korea
Amplifying Consumer Experiences of Digital Finance
Consumers International provides the consumer voice to business, government and others:
- In March 2022, we launched the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator at our Fair Digital Finance Forum.
- In June 2022, we joined a plenary at the Responsible Finance Forum, ‘Emerging Paths to Responsible Innovation’, to showcase the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator as a key innovator on the path towards responsible finance.
- In October 2022, we brought the Accelerator to Financial Inclusion Week to talk about our role in protecting and empowering consumers through methods including redress mechanisms and data protection, and the need for consumers to be at the heart of regulation.
- In October 2022, we participated in the 30th Session of the G20-OECD Task Force on Financial Consumer Protection at a roundtable discussion on financial trends and their implications for consumers.
Watch our Fair Digital Finance Accelerator launch event, where we laid out the opportunity we see for a consumer-focussed regulatory environment in digital finance and discussed how we can bring this into reality through consumer advocacy.
Opportunities for Accelerator Members
Join Fair Digital Finance Training Courses
Designed by experts in the field and in partnership with key stakeholders, our tailored training programme supports consumer associations in low- and middle- income countries to navigate the rapidly evolving world of digital finance.
Over three years Members will gain a comprehensive understanding of the sector with:
- Knowledge of the underlying mechanics of digital financial services
- Expertise in the consumer risks associated with digital financial services, such as fraud, scams, and data risks and the digital finance regulatory environment.
- Awareness of the specific challenges facing women and marginalised groups
- The skills to lead informed and effective conversations with regulators, governments and stakeholders.
Contact the team for more information.
Apply for Grants
The Fair Digital Finance Accelerator offers grants to committed Members of the Network, supporting them to run effective campaigns and build relationships with regulators and business.
Grants help Members to amplify consumer concerns in local and national discussion, broaden the reach of their campaigns, and deliver innovative programmes which support vulnerable or underserved communities.
Our first round of grants will be announced in early 2023. To apply, Members must have completed the available Fair Digital Finance Accelerator training courses.
Email FDFA@consint.org for more information.
HOW TO JOIN US
If you are a Consumers International Member based in a low- and middle-income country you can join the Network and build a fair digital finance marketplace. Contact FDFA@consint.org to find out more.
Digital finance: The consumer experience, 2023
The consumer is at the heart of consumer protection, yet they are often not present in financial sector regulatory decision-making, and their experiences are often left out of reported metrics on consumer protection.
Our latest report, Digital finance: The consumer experience, 2023, gathers data and insight to measure the extent to which our vision for fair digital finance is being realised in low- and middle-income countries. It provides a metric for governments, businesses and consumers to track the progress of the digital finance sector in delivering fair, inclusive and consumer-centric services through year-on-year and cross-country comparison.
Banking on the future
Financial technology, or FinTech, is reshaping the financial services sector as we know it.
From driving greater competition within the industry to widening access to core financial services for consumers without a basic bank account, FinTech has the potential to deliver many positive outcomes for consumers.
There are however, a number of risks and consumer detriments are emerging from FinTech, including issues around privacy, cybercrime and gaps in regulation.
Our report; Banking on the future: an exploration of FinTech and the consumer interest, explores how and why FinTech is transforming financial services markets, and takes an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities for consumers.
As more people make transactions using their phone, tablet or computer it is important that we can be sure these payments are secure and our consumer rights are fully protected.
Our 2014 briefing paper on mobile payments set out the main consumer protection issues with paying money through our phones.