Authors: Oya Pinar Ardic, Joyce A. Ibrahim, Nataliya Mylenko
Publication: The World Bank, January 2011
Abstract: Consumer protection and financial literacy can contribute to improved efficiency, transparency, competition, and access in retail financial markets by reducing information asymmetries and power imbalances between providers and users of financial services. Financial consumer protection has gained significance in policy debates, especially since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. This paper presents the results of a survey on consumer protection regulations in 142 countries. The findings indicate that although consumer protection legislation is in place in the majority of countries, these do not necessarily address the issues specific to financial services. There is some evidence that enforcement powers and monitoring capacity are limited in many countries, obstructing the effective implementation of the existing regulations. Furthermore, independent third party dispute resolution mechanisms are not widespread. The paper also compiles comprehensive information on laws and regulations relevant for consumer protection and discusses a number of challenges related to empirical analyses of financial consumer protection to enable crosscountry comparison.