Advancing Digital Financial Inclusion in ASEAN : Policy and Regulatory Enablers

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Digital financial services (DFS) have the potential to overcome barriers to full financial inclusion (GPFI 2016; GPFI and G20 2017). A high percentage of the population in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries lacks access to basic financial services. In most ASEAN countries, less than 50 percent of the population owns an account at a formal financial institution. Digital payment penetration in most ASEAN countries is under 40 percent, and gaps in DFS adoption are higher when considering specific indicators, such as the proportion of adults who use a mobile phone to pay utility bills or to access a bank account. The digitization of government payments (inflows and outflows) is in progress but is still in its early stages.

The Working Committee on Financial Inclusion (WC-FINC) requested World Bank support to perform a stock-taking assessment of the status of digital financial regulatory frameworks in ASEAN countries, focusing on the regulations enacted by central banks or other main financial authorities. A regulatory survey was performed to capture the status of the ASEAN countries in the digitization of financial services from a financial inclusion perspective. The G20 (Group of 20) High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion was also used as reference.

This report focuses on the policy and regulatory aspects of DFS in ASEAN countries and will serve as a background for the work of the WC-FINC. Chapter 1 presents the methodology and scope of this report, and chapter 2 describes some features of the region’s DFS market context. Chapters 3 and 4 analyze ASEAN policies and regulations for DFS, and chapter 5 highlights some regulatory issues regarding emerging topics important to DFS expansion. Chapter 6 finishes the report by summarizing the main findings, challenges, and opportunities that the region faces going forward.

Document Information

Document Type Report
Author Aviles, Ana Maria; Sitorus, Djauhari; Trujillo Tejada, Veronica Paola
Year of Publication 2019
Publisher World Bank Group; Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Number of Pages 84 pages
Region / Country Asia /
Primary Language English (en)
Keywords digital financial services, mobile money, Financial Inclusion, ASEAN
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