How fintech can promote financial inclusion - a new report on the opportunities and challenges

Press release  | 
14 April 2020

Financial technology can spur financial inclusion by facilitating payments, but the opportunities come with challenges, according to a new report by the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the World Bank.

The report, Payment aspects of financial inclusion in the fintech era, connects fintech innovation with financial inclusion, providing a framework for incorporating and leveraging technological opportunities to promote access and use of transaction accounts, while also addressing potential challenges.

"Technological innovation has made major inroads into financial services, which has implications for payments and their key role for financial inclusion. While fintech can support improved access to safe transaction accounts and encourage their frequent use, it is not a panacea and there are risks that need to be managed", according to Sir Jon Cunliffe, Chair of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and Deputy Governor for Financial Stability of the Bank of England.

Fintech can contribute to improved design of transaction accounts and payment products, make them ubiquitously accessible with enhanced user experience and awareness. It can make services more efficient and lower market entry barriers. Still, these benefits bring risks, in terms of operational and cyber resilience, protection of customer funds, data protection and privacy, digital exclusion and market concentration. If not adequately managed, these risks could undermine financial inclusion.

"Incorporating fintech into the PAFI framework will help firms and policymakers extend payments services to the poor, the first step for expanding access to other important services, such as credit and insurance," said Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI), World Bank Group.

The report builds on the guidance on Payment aspects of financial inclusion (PAFI), issued by the CPMI and the World Bank in 2016. This study outlined seven guiding principles for public and private sector stakeholders and recommended key actions for countries seeking to implement these principles. This was done in a technology-neutral and holistic way and remains relevant in the fintech era.

The new report shows that fintech can be used to underpin access and usage of transaction accounts. Yet it is not without challenges, and if risks are not properly managed, they can undermine financial inclusion. Payment aspects of financial inclusion in the fintech era sets out key actions, helping the relevant stakeholders to strike the right balance between increasing efficiency and ensuring safety. 

Note to editors: 

The report has been prepared for the CPMI and the WBG by a task force consisting of representatives from CPMI central banks, non-CPMI central banks active in the area of financial inclusion and international financial institutions. The work on this report was led by Maria Teresa Chimienti (European Central Bank) and Thomas Lammer (CPMI Secretariat) under the overall guidance of the task force co-chairs Marc Hollanders (Special Adviser on Financial Infrastructure, Bank for International Settlements) and Harish Natarajan (Lead Financial Sector Specialist, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation, World Bank Group).

The CPMI promotes the safety and efficiency of payment, clearing, settlement and related arrangements, thereby supporting financial stability and the wider economy. It is a global standard setter in this area. The CPMI monitors and analyses developments in these arrangements, both within and across jurisdictions. It aims to strengthen regulation, policy and practices regarding such arrangements worldwide. It also serves as a forum for central bank cooperation in related oversight, policy and operational matters, including the provision of central bank services. The CPMI secretariat is hosted by the BIS. More information about the CPMI, and all its publications, can be found on the BIS website at

The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. The World Bank Group's "Universal Financial Access 2020" goal is for adults globally to have access to a transaction account or electronic instrument to store money, send and receive payments as the basic building block to manage their financial lives. The World Bank Group's Payment Systems Development Group supports the development and reform of national payment systems, including international remittance markets, in more than 130 countries. More information is available on the World Bank's website at