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Responsible Digital Payments: Reducing the risks that come with new opportunities

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It’s all at our fingertips. The possibility to make a payment. The delight of receiving one. From Peru to Rwanda to Pakistan, people, governments and businesses are increasingly making their payment transactions digitally, whether by mobile phone, by card or online.

Technology has opened up opportunities to save time and money and to increase the convenience and security of making transactions. But with these opportunities come new risks: Those who have been financially excluded or underserved—and who may also have low levels of technological capabilities—may be the most vulnerable.

We should follow key good practices that show respect for digital payment clients and provide practical examples of each. The good practices are below with further details here:

  1. Treat Clients Fairly
  2. Keep Client Funds Safe
  3. Ensure Product Transparency for Clients
  4. Design for Client Needs and Capability
  5. Support Client Access and Use Through Interoperability
  6. Take Responsibility for Providers of Client Services Across Value Chain
  7. Protect Client Data
  8. Provide Client Recourse

Responsible practices build trust and confidence in both acquiring and using innovative digital payment services. When designed well and linked to accounts, digital payments can contribute to greater financial inclusion particularly for underserved groups, including women who particularly value the convenience, privacy, and security of digital payments. Furthermore, broader uptake of responsibly provided digital payments can help bring more people and businesses into the formal economy.

The Responsible Digital Payments Mapping, to be published in August, notes dozens of initiatives and/or standards or codes that address certain aspects of responsible digital finance.

To put these key good practices into action by the providers of digital payments, and the engagement of policymakers and regulators, as well as the support of development partners to facilitate implementation. Given the pace of innovation, there is no doubt that these practices will evolve over time. So we must test and learn, but we need to do so in ways that protect the client to the best of our ability with the information and experience we have. These practices are intended to do just that.

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