How can households learn to use financial services but not get trapped into debilitating debt or lose their savings to financial fraud? What information do consumers need in order to choose the best financial service for their needs? What do they do if there is a problem? Which parts of the community are most vulnerable?
In November 2010, the World Bank launched a Global Program on Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy to address these questions. The objective is to help countries achieve concrete measurable improvements in consumer protection in financial services.
The Global Program focuses on four areas:
- making financial information easy to understand and comparable so that consumers can shop for the best deal
- improving business practices to ensure that abusive and predatory practices are prohibited, and intermediaries are regulated
- giving consumers a way to get quick and easy redress when their financial institutions have made a mistake
- helping consumers learn to use financial services with confidence
The Global Program brings together both public and private sector agencies--financial supervisory agencies, industry associations and consumer organizations—to find the best solutions for each country. The Program focuses on three types of financial services—credit, savings and payments systems—and looks for ways to strengthen consumer rights and consumer education for each.