The Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign

Keeping clients first in financial inclusion

From 2009 to 2020, the Smart Campaign was a global initiative led by CFI that worked to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign developed the first global financial consumer protection standard, established a rigorous certification program to validate practices by financial service providers, produced consumer protection research, and convened partners to effect change. Over the course of the program more than 135 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 62 million low-income clients in 42 countries, were certified for adhering to the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Standards.

In 2020, the Client Protection Standards and management of their implementation was transferred to long-time partners SPTF and CERISE. In September 2021, SPTF and Cerise launched the Client Protection Pathway, a new initiative to support client protection implementation. A wealth of financial service provider-focused tools are maintained by SPTF and CERISE and are publicly available via their Resource Center.

As providers increasingly began to digitalize, the Smart Campaign launched research initiatives to understand consumer risks in digital financial services, focusing specifically on digital credit products. As a part of this initiative the Smart Campaign consulted digital providers through the Fintech Protects Community of Practice and piloted new benchmarks for responsible practice with the help MFR and M-CRIL. These efforts culminated in updated industry guidance and the Client Protection Standards for Digital Credit.

In addition to research and standards initiatives, the Smart Campaign launched the Smart Certification program in 2013. Smart Certification was a cornerstone of the Campaign’s efforts to benchmark providers against common standards and incentivize the improvement of consumer protection practices. The Smart Campaign acted as the certification manager and relied on licensed Certification Bodies to carry out consumer protection missions. The seven Certification Bodies licensed at the time of the Smart Campaign’s closure developed specialized knowledge and skills for evaluating the consumer protection performance of providers at a global level:



Looking Back on the Smart Campaign


Certified Financial Institutions

Over 115 financial institutions have been certified for adhering to Smart’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards.

45 million

Clients Served

Smart certified organizations collectively serve more than 45 million people across the globe.


Prioritize client protection

96% of certified financial institutons surveyed indicated the Smart Certification helped their organization better prioritize client protection.


Understand client needs

86% of certified financial institutions surveyed agreed that Smart Certification helped them better understand client risks.

Smart Certification

Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 43 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards.


We appreciate the support of our partners.

Notable supporters of the Smart Campaign include Mastercard Foundation, Credit Suisse, and Agence Francaise de Developpement.

Comic Relief | Jersey Overseas Aid

Comic Relief is a UK charity which aim to create a just world, free from poverty – where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1 billion. That money has helped, and is helping, people living incredible tough lives, both here at home in the UK and across the world. For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit Comic Relief is the trading name of Charity Projects, a registered charity in England and Wales (326568) and Scotland (SC039730), which is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (01806414) with its registered address at Hanover House, 14 Hanover Square, London, W1S 1HP. Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA) is an international aid agency funded by the States of Jersey that has been providing life-changing assistance to people in developing countries since 1968. Financial Inclusion is one of the agency’s priority funding streams, along with Dairy for Development and Environment & Livelihoods.

Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter.