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Responsible Financial Access

Explore data on policies and regulations from 141 economies

Financial consumer protection encompasses the laws, regulations, and institutional arrangements that safeguard consumers in the financial marketplace. This section offers resources developed by our staff and partners that include technical guidance, country reports, and tools for policymakers, regulators, development partners and other experts.


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Complaints Handling within Financial Service Providers : Principles, Practices, and Regulatory Approaches

Core to an effective financial consumer protection framework is an accessible and efficient recourse mechanism that allows consumers both to know and to assert their rights to have their complaints addressed and resolved in a transparent and just way within a reasonable timeframe. Complaints handling mechanisms are especially important for low-income and vulnerable financial consumers, to whom timely and effective recourse processes can have a decisive influence over their trust in their financial service provider (FSP) and in the financial sector in general. Increased trust contributes to consumers' uptake and sustained usage of financial services and, consequently, their economic livelihoods.

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Product Design and Distribution : Emerging Regulatory Approaches for Retail Banking Products

This note discusses emerging international approaches for regulating design and distribution of retail banking products. Such products include deposit, credit, and payment products, being the products that new financial consumers typically acquire first. Policy makers are finding that financial consumer protection measures implemented to date, such as disclosure requirements, while still important, are insufficient to protect consumers against all key risks. Anticipating new or changing risks to consumers has also become more difficult for regulators given rapid financial sector innovation. 

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Good Practices for Financial Consumer Protection, 2017 Edition

Since the 2012 edition (available below), international guidance and country practices regarding financial consumer protection have substantially evolved. The 2017 Good Practices is a comprehensive reference and assessment tool for policymakers that consolidates the latest research, international guidance, and country examples. A thorough update of the previous edition, this guide emphasizes implementation aspects and expands upon priority areas such as supervisory techniques, effective disclosure, and digital finance.

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Global Financial Inclusion and Consumer Protection Survey, 2017 Report

This report presents the main findings of the 2017 Global Financial Inclusion & Consumer Protection (FICP) Survey. The 2017 Global FICP Survey tracks the prevalence of key policy, legal, regulatory, and supervisory efforts to advance financial inclusion and financial consumer protection. Financial sector authorities in 124 jurisdictions - representing 141 economies and more than 90 percent of the world’s unbanked adult population - responded to the 2017 Global FICP Survey. See also: 2013 Global CPFL Survey (available below).

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From Spreadsheets to Suptech: Technology Solutions for Market Conduct Supervision

Effective market conduct supervision is critical to ensuring that financial consumers are protected from unfair business practices and provided with clear information. This discussion note examines the use of Suptech (supervisory technology) solutions to improve market conduct supervision. It also provides case studies of Suptech applications in the U.S, Lithuania, and Brazil, and highlights the risks and challenges that may arise with Suptech.

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Financial Consumer Protection and New Forms of Data Processing Beyond Credit Reporting

New sources of data and new ways to process data have contributed to an ongoing expansion in the availability of digital financial services. Such data can be used to design and market customer-centric products, create credit scores for consumers with limited credit histories, meet and facilitate know-your-customer requirements, and minimize the risk of fraud. Yet a great variety of personal information may be processed in this context. This discussion note provides an overview of benefits and risks arising from the use of new types of data and identifies areas for further research.

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Developing a Key Facts Statement for Consumer Credit

This technical note provides practical guidance to policy makers seeking to develop key facts statements (KFSs) for consumer credit products. Misleading or incomplete information on fees and risks can result in consumers choosing products not well-suited to their needs, potentially harmful to consumer welfare. KFSs provide key information on terms, conditions, fees, and total costs, in a clear standardized format. The note shares the key principles, international good practices, and lessons learned in developing KFSs that can help achieve better consumer comprehension.

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COUNTRY DIAGNOSTICS

Ethiopia Diagnostic Review of Financial Consumer Protection

YEAR: 2017

The Diagnostic Review of Financial Consumer Protection in Ethiopia assesses the legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for financial consumer protection (FCP), with a focus on retail products and services in four sectors: i) banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs); ii) payments; and iii) insurance. The assessment covers five topics in each of the above-mentioned sectors: i) legal, regulatory, and supervisory framework; ii) disclosure and sales practices; iii) fair treatment and business conduct; iv) data privacy; and v) dispute resolution mechanisms, based on which the report develops prioritized and tailored recommendations aimed at supporting the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) in developing and operationalizing improvements to the FCP framework.

Papua New Guinea - Financial Consumer Protection Diagnostic 2018

YEAR: 2018

This diagnostic review assesses the legal and regulatory framework and industry practices in financial consumer protection (FCP) in the key segments of Papua New Guinea's regulated financial sector: banking, non-bank financial institutions (NBFI), insurance, and payments. Preliminary consideration has also been given to the superannuation sector and securities. Investments and informal sectors were not covered. The report was prepared as part of the PNG Financial Consumer Protection Project, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New Zealand under the PNG Partnership.

South Africa Retail Banking Diagnostic

YEAR: 2018

This 2018 diagnostic analyzes provision of consumer transactional accounts and fixed deposits by retail banks in South Africa. The primary aim was to identify potential deficiencies from a fair-treatment perspective in banks’ provision of such accounts and deposits, and how any identified major fair-treatment deficiencies could appropriately be addressed through market conduct regulation, with regard to international good practices and the South African market context. This report sets out the findings of the diagnostic and provides recommendations for regulatory improvements and related measures for consideration by the South African authorities.

Nigeria Diagnostic Review of Financial Consumer Protection

YEAR: 2017

The objective of the Diagnostic Review of Financial Consumer Protection in Nigeria is to assess the legal, regulatory, and institutional framework, industry practices and related new initiatives for financial consumer protection (FCP) applicable to the banking, non-bank financial institution (NBFI) and payment sectors and develop prioritized and tailored recommendations aimed at supporting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in enhancing the FCP framework and its implementation. The assessment is conducted based on the revised and enhanced World Bank Good Practices for Financial Consumer Protection and covers five topics in each of the above-mentioned sectors: i) legal, regulatory, and supervisory framework; ii) disclosure and sales practices; iii) fair treatment and business conduct; iv) data privacy; and v) dispute resolution mechanisms. 

Ghana Diagnostic Review of Financial Consumer Protection

YEAR: 2016

The objective of the Diagnostic Review of Financial Consumer Protection in Ghana was to assess the legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for financial consumer protection and develop prioritized and tailored reform recommendations. The assessment is based on the revised and enhanced World Bank Good Practices for Financial Consumer Protection (forthcoming) and focuses on retail products and services in four sectors: i) banks and nonbank financial institutions (NBFIs); ii) payments; and iii) insurance. Further, the review covers five topics in each of the above-mentioned sectors: i) legal, regulatory, and supervisory framework; ii) disclosure and sales practices; iii) fair treatment and business conduct; iv) data privacy; and v) dispute resolution mechanisms. The report was based on the review of the existing legal and regulatory framework, as well as planned reforms (e.g. draft regulations) that were presented to or discussed with the World Bank team. It also features industry practices based on anecdotal evidence gathered through interviews with financial services providers, financial regulators, and consumer and industry associations. The report was prepared as part of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs’ (SECO) Global Trust Fund for Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy.