Inclusive Digital Financial Services: A Reference Guide for Regulators

We believe that high-quality financial services are crucial to fighting poverty. More than 1.7 billion people worldwide live outside the formal financial sector. Increasing their access to affordable financial services will improve the well-being of their households, communities, and economies. One of the most promising ways to deliver these financial services to the poor is by using digital payment platforms.

Our Inclusive Financial Systems (ISF) program, in collaboration with partner organizations, developed a reference guide for policymakers and regulators who are looking to facilitate development of inclusive digital financial services while safeguarding the stability and integrity of the financial system and protecting consumers against harm as markets open to innovation.

View Inclusive Digital Financial Services: A Reference Guide for Regulators

Topics covered in the guide include:

  • Licensing
  • Prudential regulation and supervision
  • Competition issues
  • Integrity and security
  • Agent regulation and supervision
  • Consumer protection

Each country’s framework for the regulation and supervision of financial services must reflect the needs of its own economy, legal system, and citizens, especially because of differences in how financial systems have developed. The guide therefore does not recommend adopting any specific product, service, or distribution channel, nor does it constitute legal advice.

The guide provides examples of key regulations from jurisdictions around the world to illustrate diverse approaches to promoting digital financial inclusion. The FSP program and the foundation’s partners have used this guide to support discussions with local regulators, central banks, and other authorities. We are making the guide publicly available to support global and regional dialogue on the importance of proportionate, risk-based regulation to help enable economies that benefit the poor.

The guide was created in consultation with representatives of the following organizations (in alphabetical order):

  • Alliance for Financial Inclusion
  • Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)
  • United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
  • The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA)
  • The World Bank

Principal drafting was led by the consulting firm BFA Global. Contributors offered advice and insight in their personal capacities. Any opinions expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or any of the aforementioned organizations.

We intend to update the guide in the future. Email any comments to [email protected].

This work is provided as is, without any warranty of any kind and for noncommercial, informational use only. Any further use may require the consent of third-party content owners. The materials are not intended to convey or constitute legal advice. You should not act on any such information without first seeking qualified professional counsel on your specific matter.