Mystery Shopping for Digital Financial Services

19 April 2017
Regulators and supervisors can use mystery shopping to understand market developments and customer experiences.
In a mystery shopping study in Zambia, most shoppers were able to register for a digital financial services account without showing the necessary identification. These shoppers were able to bypass over-the-counter transaction limits. And most agents who quoted transaction fees to shoppers told shoppers the wrong amount. According to one shopper: “I was initially informed that the transfers attract zero charges, but I later incurred charges after the transfer was complete, and the agents were unable to explain this.”
 
Findings like these are critical for regulators and supervisors charged with monitoring markets for regulatory compliance and with identifying emerging risks customers experience. Mystery shopping is a powerful tool regulators can use to investigate specific issues in the market, understand customer experiences following the rollout of new services or regulations, and measure continual compliance with existing regulations.
 
This toolkit provides practical, easy-to-use guidance on the process that a regulator and research firm can use for conducting a mystery shopping study. The Zambia study is used throughout as an illustration. The toolkit guides regulators and research firms to do the following:
Collaborate with each other.
Develop research objectives.
Determine what scenarios mystery shoppers should test.
Develop research tools, including scripts and questionnaires.
Structure the fieldwork team and training, and conduct quality-control measures.
Analyze data and identify meaningful results.
 
Regulators and other stakeholders can use this resource to conduct mystery shopping studies in their own markets, identify both successes and problem areas, and take informed action to mitigate consumer risks and ensure regulatory compliance.