Building Consumer Demand for Digital Financial Services – The New Regulatory Frontier
36 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 7, 2015
Digital financial services (DFS) are held out as key financial solutions for improving financial inclusion. However, targeted end users often offer little in the way of obvious profitable opportunities and so market forces alone are not enough to ensure the supply of services and products that match end users’ means, needs or wants. As a result, DFS in emerging markets may suffer from limited uptake and usage, with little effect on financial inclusion. In emerging markets, financial regulators have been focusing on supporting the success of DFS largely through institutional and regulatory framework efforts. This article argues that financial regulators must first work to understand and build consumer demand for DFS rather than purely focusing on developing enabling regulatory frameworks. This requires a change in mindset for financial regulators, who are more familiar with promoting financial stability, safety and efficiency. In this article, we explore this changing role for financial regulators. We recommend that regulators particularly focus on building consumer demand through promoting partnerships in DFS as a means of promoting financial inclusion. We highlight that partnerships introduce collaboration risks and heighten consumer risks; requiring regulators to adjust regulatory frameworks to ensure such risks are identified and mitigated.
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