Consumers International and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth on Monday announced a new partnership to empower and protect vulnerable consumers in the digital finance sector.
The initiative, supported by a grant from the Mastercard Impact Fund, seeks to establish a global framework for consumer protection and empowerment in the rapidly evolving digital finance landscape.
According to consumer advocates, a mere 20% of consumers are included in deliberations about the design of new technologies in their respective countries.
This exclusion results in risks for vulnerable consumers not being effectively addressed, leading to solutions that are not tailored to the people they are intended to benefit.
Helena Leurent, Director General of Consumers International, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that consumer protection frameworks have failed to keep up with the complexity of the digital finance ecosystem.
This has led to increased risks such as fraud and scams, particularly affecting lower-income consumers, women, and other vulnerable groups. The new partnership with Mastercard aims to address these challenges and unite a global community behind consumer financial health and well-being, with consumer protection at its core.
Shamina Singh, Founder and President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, highlighted the importance of ensuring that technological advances benefit everyone, everywhere. The partnership with Consumers International is set to ensure that new digital finance solutions are not only built with, but for the people they serve.
The initiative will focus on up to a dozen target countries, collaborating with local stakeholders to identify and elevate the voice, needs, and well-being of vulnerable consumers.
Outputs will prioritize driving trusted digital experiences that go beyond access to ensure quality service, aiming to establish a fair and secure global marketplace by advocating for consumer rights and promoting access to inclusive, safe, data-protected, and sustainable digital financial services.
Over the past three years, Consumers International’s Fair Digital Finance Accelerator has engaged a network of 65 consumer associations across low- and middle-income countries, reaching 1.2 million people via regulator and financial service provider engagement.
The organization has played a pivotal role in driving regulation, evolving business practices, and promoting transparency and accountability within the digital finance sector.
The philanthropic funding, delivered by the Mastercard Impact Fund, is part of Mastercard’s ongoing commitment to advancing equity and economic opportunities for underserved communities and increasing access and usage of digital financial services.
The partnership signifies a unique multi-stakeholder impact approach to achieving a fair, safe, and sustainable marketplace for all people, as Mastercard joins Consumers International’s network of governments, academics, civil society, foundations, and businesses.