Consumer Advocates around the world Call for Change in Digital Finance
From 14 – 18 March Consumers International hosted the Fair Digital Finance Forum, uniting marketplace actors, influential thinkers and consumer advocates across 18 impactful, high-level events with a unanimous call for digital finance regulation and consumer protection.
Whilst offering great potential for economic growth and other opportunities, rapid financial digitalisation can pose risk and unfair outcomes for consumers, with these issues likely to disproportionately affect vulnerable consumers. As such, the Forum sparked the first-ever consumer-centric global conversation on fair digital finance to address the core challenges.
In collaboration with our global partners, we explored areas such as lessons learnt from the pandemic, what the future of consumer advocacy looks like and importantly, the innovative and regulatory approaches urgently needed to match rapid change in the digital financial services sector and protect consumers.
During the week we launched:
- The Consumer Vision for Fair Digital Finance which guided discussion throughout the week and focussed on four pillars to make digital finance inclusive, safe, data protected and private and sustainable.
- The Fair Digital Finance Accelerator with 40 consumers associations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor. The Accelerator puts the collaborative spirit of the Forum into action, bringing together a community of consumer associations in low- and middle-income countries to share insight, training, and build constructive bridges to regulators.
- A joint statement with Consumer International Members on Buy Now Pay Later products with six clear action steps for regulators and governments.
- The findings of our Consumer Protection and Empowerment Index together with our Members. The tool is a first-of-its kind, measuring the state of consumer protection and empowerment across countries
World Consumer Rights Day 2022
The Forum amplified World Consumer Rights Day, held each year on 15 March and a pivotal moment for the consumer advocacy movement. Ninety-five Members around the world united and took action to promote the theme of Fair Digital Finance in settings as diverse as Mexico, Zimbabwe, India, Fiji, Canada and Spain. The range of innovative activities they held included public consultations, appearances in the mainstream media, pop-up stands in rural locations and workshops on financial inclusion.
Our Members lit up social media to share their activities and as we promoted Members’ campaigns our tweets generated 12.5k ‘impressions’ (the total tally of how many times the tweet has been seen). Our social media hashtags #WorldConsumerRightsDay22, #FairDigitalFinance and #FairDigitalFinanceForum gained a combined social media reach of over 1.2 million.
These are some of the initial figures from World Consumer Rights Day – we will continue to gather further impact data and update it here!
The Forum: Who engaged, where & how?
Almost 600 attendees took part in the Fair Digital Finance Forum through the week, representing government, civil society, academia, business and other sectors and joining from across Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and the Pacific.
Our most popular events included the opening leaders dialogue to focus on the Consumer Vision on Monday and our Buy Now Pay Later session on Wednesday which drew attention to our Statement on BNPL released on the same day. The Statement has been covered by mainstream media including the Australian Financial Review and ABC News, Australia and to-date 9000 individuals have signed a separate campaign on the statement led by our Member, CHOICE.
On social media, our Twitter posts were shared by 120 of our partners and the number of total likes, comments and shares on our LinkedIn page increased by 191% up from the previous week!
Finally, we have been delighted to see such positive responses initially shared through our event feedback form. Ninety-seven percent marked that the event topics were relevant to them and when asked about the extent to which the event had enhanced their knowledge of the topic, 85% selected either 4 or 5 out of 5.