First Access has participated in the Fintech Protects working group, an initiative of The Smart Campaign at Accion's Center for Financial Inclusion, since its inception in mid-2017. Collaborating with the CFI team and other fintech leaders, as well as with the industry at large through a public commenting period, First Access and Fintech Protects are proud to launch the Standards of Protection for Digital Credit.
"With an emerging consensus around the importance of responsible digital credit, demand has risen for a shared set of criteria to assess the practices of digital lenders. Investors and regulators want a way to evaluate consumer protection practices among the financial service providers they invest in or regulate.
Digital financial service providers also want guidance to improve their practices and demonstrate that they are committed to putting responsible finance into action. This is why the Smart Campaign has been working to develop a set of standards that addresses the risks involved in digital credit. Following research, pilot assessments, and a period of public comment, we have finalized a set of practices reflecting input from consumers, researchers, financial service providers, and on-the-ground testing.
We have had extensive discussions with providers who are members of the Fintech Protects community of practice. We have benefitted from and built upon the high quality research produced by institutions including CGAP, GSMA, Microsave, Financial Sector Deepening, and the Better than Cash Alliance.
These standards consolidate what we have learned about good practices and where to set the bar. They provide a starting point for further inquiry and discussion across the industry. Given how nascent the digital credit industry is, these standards will be first used for assessments, tool creation, data collection, and eventually certification. Please share any comments or questions on the standards to comments @smartcampaign.org/"
The Digital Credit Standards can be found here:
Guidance on Client Protection Principles, which puts these standards into context, can be found here:
Please see the full release here: