Consumer protections are a critical component of a stable financial system, particularly when dealing with vulnerable and low-income populations. Because of the difficulty in reaching some consumers due to lack of access to technology, pandemic-related challenges in collecting face-to-face data, and other factors that prevent standardized and widespread data collection, new tools have become necessary to survey consumers about the protections they receive from their financial service providers (FSPs).
In Cambodia, CFI — in partnership with the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA) and with support from the Mastercard Foundation — conducted a survey using interactive voice response (IVR) for client feedback regarding their interactions with their FSPs. Overall, clients surveyed in Cambodia expressed a strong level of satisfaction with FSPs with regard to client protection principles (CPPs), indicating that the protections put in place by the three FSPs participating in the survey are functioning as intended. The three participating FSPs – AMK, MAXIMA, and HKL – received high marks from consumers in areas such as providing appropriate product and service options, prevention of over-indebtedness, and treating consumers fairly and respectfully.
While the overall client feedback was positive, a few areas of opportunity became apparent. The survey results reveal that many consumers are unaware of how to access FSPs’ complaint resolution mechanisms, and some are unlikely to use them, even if the process is clear. Survey results also indicate that there is room for improvement with regard to transparency, as consumer awareness of charges and various terms and conditions was found to be somewhat lacking.