In the third plenary session at the National Financial Literacy Symposium (NFLS) 2022, the Financial Education Network (FEN) dived into a discussion titled ‘The Digital Age of Financial Literacy and Consumer Protection – Boon or Bane?’
. The topic examined the rapid rise of digital financial inclusion due to the emergence of digital financial products and services, amplified by the widespread adoption of mobile banking during the pandemic.
The panel was moderated by Malek Ali, the Founder of Fi Life, and joined by panel speakers Adadzewa Otoo, Policy Specialist E-money, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI); Jawahar Ali Ameer Ali, General Manager, Consumer and Investor Office, Securities Commission Malaysia; and Mohammad Matin Mohdari, Strategy Director, Tech for Good Institute.
The guest speakers deliberated on how digital financial inclusion is imminent and has allowed consumers to fulfil their banking needs and acquire digital financial services remotely without too much hassle. Mobile banking and digital platforms have become gateways for people to access digital financial products and services and be included. Inevitably, with easier access to a wide range of digital financial facilities, the more at-risk consumers will be.
In the discourse, they looked at how people, especially those from underserved communities, can contribute to the rising digital financial inclusion. The pandemic has allowed people to confidently use digital financial services and platforms offering conveniences such as mobile banking services, e-wallets, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes, and micro-investments. However, the panel also cautioned that the risk for fraud becomes high when adoption outpaces users’ understanding of the technology and stated that the public must be educated on how they can protect themselves from falling prey to scams.
The Commercial Crime Investigation Department
has reported a total of 71,833 scams that resulted in more than RM5.2 billion in losses from 2020 until May 2022. As of September 2022, the Securities Commission Malaysia
has received 1,800 complaints and enquiries related to investment scams and unlicensed activities.
With all scams perpetrated online, the panel agreed that it’s important to educate the public holistically, build trust, and instil confidence in using digital financial services and products safely. The collective effort by regulators, policymakers, private sectors, and consumers themselves is much needed in fortifying consumer protection in the digital economy landscape.
- Adadzewa Otoo, Policy Specialist E-money, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)
- Malek Ali, Founder, Fi Life
- Jawahar Ali Ameer Ali, General Manager, Consumer and Investor Office, Securities Commission Malaysia
- Mohammad Matin Mohdari, Strategy Director, Tech for Good Institute