Smart Campaign targets low-income financial services consumers

Financial Inclusion Forum Africa has partnered Accion to launch the Smart Campaign, a global initiative to promote strong financial consumer protection for low-income clients.

The campaign launched last week, #YouDeservetoKnow, is a 13-week radio programme aimed at educating and empowering Ghanaians to access financial services with confidence.

With the goal of advancing financial inclusion and addressing consumer protection concerns in Ghana, the Smart Campaign has launched a radio series that will engage directly with clients, and help customers better understand their rights and responsibilities when accessing financial services.

The series will feature drama episodes and expert interviews airing on Adom FM, starting Thursday, February 28th, and will be also be aired on Citi FM in April.

Through the #YouDeservetoKnow radio campaign, the Smart Campaign aims to give Ghanaians an opportunity to ask questions, connect them to existing market resources, and create a space on social media to enable clients to discuss their experiences with financial services.

The Smart Campaign, housed at the Centre for Financial Inclusion at Accion, works globally to unite financial leaders in creating an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income customers.

Financial inclusion in Ghana continues to steadily advance, as access to formal financial services has increased by 41% since 2010.

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The Smart Campaign maintains a rigorous certification programme, conducts research to elevate the client-voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level.

“Building a robust client protection ecosystem requires strong industry standards and an engaged regulator; but perhaps more importantly, clients who understand their rights and responsibilities. When clients don’t know how to avoid fraud or don’t feel empowered to ask their provider questions or to complain when something goes wrong, they are more vulnerable to mistreatment,” said Alexandra Rizzi, a Senior Director at the Smart Campaign.

“The series aims to equip clients with the knowledge they deserve to know so as to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families.”

The Smart Campaign has been working with partners in Ghana since 2009: in activities such as conducting research on over-indebtedness, implementing consumer protection training with providers, and partnering with regulators on grievance redressal.

This engagement has highlighted a number of consumer protection issues in Ghana, ranging from issues with fraud, over-indebtedness, to transparency present in both the microfinance industry and among digital financial (DFS) service providers. The Smart Campaign is working closely with the Financial Inclusion Forum of Africa in the implementation of YouDeservetoKnow.

The project also has a distinguished panel of advisors including representatives from the Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Finance, MTN and Ghanaian Microfinance Network, among others.

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“The Smart Campaign’s global expertise has helped identify and prioritise financial consumer protection issues for Ghanaian consumers,” said Dr. William Derban Co-Founder/Chair of Financial Inclusion Forum Africa.

Research conducted for the ITU found that 56 percent of mobile money users in Ghana have received a fraudulent or scam SMS, and 12 percent of mobile money users have lost money to a fraud or a scam.

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