CBN Moves To Strengthen Digital Financial Services

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As a part of the effort to deepen financial inclusion while also protecting the consumers and broader industry integrity against fraud and data piracy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has taken proactive steps to strengthen Nigerian consumers to catch up with the fast-paced development of Digital Financial Services in the country.

The Apex bank has issued new guidelines on operators’ responsibility in educating and protecting consumers along the value chain.

The regulator declared this in the guidelines it said are meant to take care of identified gaps in consumer knowledge and practices in emerging digital financial services.

CBN declared this in a statement with the caption ‘Digital financial services awareness guidelines’, released on Friday.

As Efina (Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access) noted, “Digital financial services is a strategic opportunity to expand the access and reach of basic financial services to the un(der) banked population in Nigeria through innovative financial technologies and platforms”. Interestingly, the apex bank also noted: “DFS have the potential to expand access to financial services for the Nigerian population and spur innovation in the financial services industry”.

“The Digital Financial Services guidelines provide for a set of principles and expectations for financial service providers to integrate with the provision of DFS to ensure consumer understanding, good treatment, and positive outcomes,” CBN explained.

According to the Central Bank, the provisions of these guidelines shall apply to institutions providing DFS, including deposit money banks; merchant banks; other financial institutions, Payment Service Banks, and Other Payment Service Institutions as licensed by the CBN.

Elaborating on the objectives of the guidelines, the regulator explained that these include setting Digital Financial Literacy standards for Digital Financial Services Providers, aligning product development, promotion, and consumer awareness to DFS amongst services providers, and enhancing transparency and proper disclosure of digital financial services.