The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued an exposure draft for the digital financial services awareness guidelines to address gaps in consumer knowledge and practices with Digital Financial Services (DFS).
This is coming against the background of the Council of the European Union (EU) and European Parliament’s provisional agreement on proposals to regulate EU markets in crypto assets (MiCA), including stablecoin and unbacked crypto asset issuers. It includes trading venues and wallets and introduction of consumer protection measures and standards for stablecoins.
The CBN, in a circular titled: “Digital financial services awareness guidelines” on its website, said that the rules are to establish a set of principles and expectations for financial service providers to incorporate in the provision of DFS in order to promote consumer knowledge, good treatment, and positive outcomes.
According to the CBN, “DFS have the potential to expand access to financial services for the Nigerian population and spur innovation in the financial services industry.
The guidelines provide for a set of principles and expectations for financial service providers to integrate in the provision of DFS to ensure consumer understanding, good treatment, and positive outcomes.”
It said that the provisions of the guidelines would 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.
The CBN listed the objectives of the guidelines which include; “digital financial literacy standards for digital financial services providers; to align product development, promotion, and consumer awareness to DFS among DFSP; to enhance transparency and proper disclosure on DFS; to provide for the development of financial literacy and consumer education materials on DFS.
Others are to ensure evidence-driven DFL approach; integrate DFL in existing financial education programmes; to drive targeted DFL approach to the underserved population; and to provide standard for the promotion of DFL.
The apex bank said that DFSs must promote DFS awareness and education, give information that allows customers to differentiate DFS products from traditional banking goods and services, and ensure easy access to information on all product offers so that consumers may make educated decisions.
Ppart of the responsibility is providing product information in simple English and local languages, doing outreach to underprivileged communities about DFS alternatives accessible to them, and providing information on product usage and how to obtain support services when needed.