Youth in rice farming, Philippines. Photo by Jayson Berto, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest Photo by Jayson Berto, 2016 CGAP Photo Contest

Policy

New technologies are rapidly changing the face of finance, breaking up financial services into smaller components digitally delivered by new players. Large retail chains, electronic money issuers and big technology and social media platforms such as WeChat, Apple Pay and Google are entering the financial arena, leveraging the vast amounts of data they harvest from consumers’ online purchases, text conversations or Facebook posts and combining them to deliver new financial services.

While these innovations offer great potential for expanding financial services to larger numbers of people especially the financially excluded, they raise new questions for policy making in an environment that was largely built for banks. Should the newcomers be regulated and supervised and by whom? What rules on market competition apply? How should data privacy be managed? Where is the balance between fostering innovation and protecting consumers? What risks are posed to market stability?

As financial services increasingly become modular, automated, disaggregated and transnational, CGAP believes that policy makers need a new approach. Successful financial inclusion requires a policy and regulatory framework that fosters responsible, inclusive financial systems and one that has the flexibility to adapt to rapid changes. Consumers must view the system as fair and stable, protecting their interests. Businesses must know there is a clear set of rules balancing innovation and stability while fostering appropriate competition and cooperation.

Latest Research

Publication

Rapid Account Opening in a Pandemic

Governments and funders worldwide are responding to the severe economic blow from the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering social assistance payments to families and individuals. Increasingly, they are turning to digital delivery for disbursements, which has accelerated the demand for financial services providers (FSPs) to be able to open formal financial accounts rapidly and with minimal or zero physical contact with customers.
Publication

India's New Approach to Personal Data-Sharing

As more and more people begin to conduct transactions online, questions have emerged about how to provide millions of customers adequate data protection and privacy. India's solution to this challenge is account aggregators (AA).
Publication

Microfinance and COVID-19: A Framework for Regulatory Response

A framework for identifying and assessing crisis responses must take account of the special characteristics of microfinance which leads to the question of how regulators should respond. A review of current practice in a range of countries suggests there are six key steps to be taken at the level of regulation and policy.

Latest Blogs

Blog

COVID-19: Risks for Borrowers as Economies Reopen

With COVID-19 lockdowns putting stress on both consumers and lenders, the stage is set for consumer protection challenges around the provision of credit.
Blog

Study Shows Kenyan Borrowers Value Data Privacy, Even During Pandemic

Research in Kenya shows that low-income borrowers value data privacy so much that most are willing to pay higher interest rates for better privacy protections, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blog

Financial Consumer Protection: 3 Steps to Better Customer Outcomes

Here are three steps that regulators can take to advance a customer outcomes-based approach to financial consumer protection.