As digital technologies transform financial inclusion, with new providers, products, and delivery channels reaching out to the financially excluded, the need increases for effective legal and regulatory frameworks to protect low-income consumers. A sound legal framework for consumer financial protection will support financial inclusion and innovation, allow new products and services to responsibly reach previously underserved consumers, and provide for empowered and capable regulators to oversee and enforce these frameworks.

Strengthening the Legal Framework for Digital Financial Services

The Handbook on Consumer Protection for Inclusive Finance presents updated and revised guidance for consumer financial protection regulators organized around the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles (CPPs). It expands upon a previous document, the Client Protection Principles: Model Law and Commentary for Financial Consumer Protection (Model Legal Framework) to reflect updated digital credit standards from the Smart Campaign, new and emerging guidance from international organizations and collaborative working groups, and consultation with a broad range of experts regarding the unique characteristics of digital financial services (DFS), with an emphasis on digital credit.

Global Lessons and Model Legislation for Policymakers

In the Handbook, the Client Protection Principles are matched with legal provisions that promote the realization of these principles in practice. Expanded areas of the Handbook include the unique characteristics presented by DFS, new content around data privacy, fraud, and security, and product-specific recommendations. The tool is intended as a resource for financial consumer protection policymakers by providing model language, illustrative examples, and actionable recommendations. The aim is to support dialogue and foster collaboration between government and industry.

Using the Handbook on Consumer Protection for Inclusive Finance

The Handbook is a practical resource for policymakers and regulators seeking to develop or revise legal frameworks in whole or part, to fill in legal or regulatory gaps. Legislators and regulators can use recommendations in the Handbook to draft specific language appropriate for their respective jurisdictions’ legal regime, on a comprehensive or selective basis.

The Handbook can be used as a diagnostic tool for commentators to assess a given jurisdiction’s current legislation, regulation or other directives in comparison with this recommended approach.

The Handbook can also support industry engagement and dialogue with regulators and supervisors by providing concrete and actionable recommendations and fostering collaboration to advance consumer protection through voluntary standards.

This work was conducted in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.

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