Consumers International

Fair Digital Finance Accelerator members awarded funding for innovative fair finance initiatives

Consumers need more than access to financial services. They need strong consumer protection that empowers and upholds consumer rights at all stages of the consumer journey.

Consumer associations have a vital role to play in enhancing consumer protection in digital finance. This is especially important in low- and middle-income countries, where protections often lag behind rapid technological developments.

Yet the consumer voice is often overlooked. Our annual index charting the consumer experience of digital financial services showed a notable increase in the proportion of consumer bodies that have never been engaged with by central banks and other regulatory bodies.

This week, Consumers International reaches another milestone in raising their voice. As part of our Fair Digital Finance Accelerator, 11 Consumers International members from low- and middle-income countries will be awarded funding to advance national fair digital finance initiatives.

Supporting members to deliver impact at the national level

The goal of the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator is to improve the state of digital finance in low- and middle-income countries. As well as training and building capacity among consumer organisations to act on digital finance issues, we link consumer advocates to national and international policy-makers. To date, 65 consumer organisations are in the Accelerator network, receiving training and taking action to raise awareness.  

To complement that work, in 2023 we announced a new phase for the Accelerator – a grants fund open to committed members of the network, supporting them to:

  • Generate unique insights. Funding supports consumer associations to enhance their data collection methods – like consumer surveys and complaints and support systems – to bring a unique perspective to regulators and support evidence-based, data-driven policy which responds to consumer needs.
  • Deliver innovative programmes supporting vulnerable and underserved communities. Through our support, consumer associations can find new solutions to challenges faced by vulnerable consumers, like building targeted hubs which provide consumers with advice and dispute resolution services.
  • Raise consumer concerns around digital finance in local and national dialogues. To help advance the objectives of the Fair Digital Finance Accelerator, grants will support consumer organisations to strengthen their advocacy to regulatory, policy, and business stakeholders to foster an inclusive, safe, sustainable, and data protected and private marketplace.

Just one year in action, our grants programme has already seen members scaling their impact and implementing innovative solutions. Citizen consumer and civic Action Group India surveyed over 2000 students, women, and rural farmers in Tamil Nadu, bringing their findings, and a call to enhance digital payment systems, to the Reserve Bank of India. Consumers Fiji reached over 72,000 consumers in a campaign on financial scams and data protection. National Consumer Association (St Lucia) developed a digital platform to support a more robust complaints and redress support service.

Meet the 2024 grantees

ADECOR (Rwanda)

Through capacity building, awareness campaigns, and stakeholder dialogues, ADECOR (Rwanda) will launch an initiative targeting poor transparency and fraud detection in digital financial services.

CADEF (Nigeria)

CADEF (Nigeria) will focus on bringing financial inclusion to visually- and hearing-impaired communities. They will focus on supporting consumers to build their digital financial literacy, through leveraging assistive technologies, and, where they do not exist, develop new accessible digital tools.

CONSENT (Uganda)

CONSENT (Uganda) will engage stakeholders for enhanced policy reform, advocate financial consumer protection guidelines that are actually enforced and followed, and to properly fund and build the capacity of consumer organisations doing essential work.

Consumer Council of Fiji (Fiji)

The Consumer Council of Fiji will use the Accelerator grant to hone in on inclusion. They will investigate and make recommendations on policy which can help improve protections for vulnerable consumers.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe

The Consumer Council Zimbabwe will work to improve consumer protection in digital financial services, with an enhanced focus on the support needed for those living in rural areas. They will do this through establishing robust complaint and redress centres and working with key stakeholders to increase access.

Consumer Grassroots Association (Kenya)

Noting a rise in new risks and challenges arising as digital financial services rapidly expand across the region, Consumer Grassroots Association (Kenya) will engage key stakeholders, as well as providing targeted support to marginalised groups.

Consumer Voice (India)

A new project by Consumer Voice (India) will focus on empowering consumers with the knowledge they need to engage with digital financial services while staying safe from risk. Through workshops, social media campaigns, and collaboration with key actors like regulators and financial institutions, Consumer Voice will hone in on the rights consumers need to be aware of, improving access to and the strength of redress mechanisms.

Myanmar Consumers Union

The Myanmar Consumers Union will focus on improving the quality and efficiency of financial services available. They will work with key stakeholders in government, providers, and civil society to advocate for strengthened consumer rights and fair digital finance practices.

IDEC (Brazil)

To help drive the integration of consumer safety, data protection, and privacy in digital finance, IDEC (Brazil) will collaborate with regulators and financial institutions to build a responsible platform for scam and fraud prevention.

Yemen Association for Consumer Protection

YACP (Yemen) will address critical challenges in Yemen’s national digital finance sector by advocating for consumer protection standards, facilitating stakeholder dialogues, establishing partnerships and running awareness-raising programmes.

Yogyakarta Consumer Institute (Indonesia)

The Yogyakarta Consumer Institute (Indonesia) will use the funding to create guidelines for peer-to peer lending products to prevent misuse and ensure consumer rights are upheld. They will do this through a multi-pronged approach which includes consumer awareness, regulatory advocacy, and collaboration with the Indonesian Financial Services Authority and other key stakeholders.

Learn more

We want to hear updates on the actions our Members and others are taking to promote fair digital finance in your country or region. Email us [email protected] or follow us on Twitter and Facebook  for regular Fair Digital Finance Accelerator updates. 

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