A Legal Analysis of the Use of Innovative Technology in the Promotion of Financial Inclusion for Low-Income Earners in South Africa

Keywords: financial inclusion, financial exclusion, low-income earners, innovative technology, challenges

Abstract

The promotion of financial inclusion is important for the combating of financial exclusion in many countries, including South Africa. Nonetheless, most low-income earners living in rural areas and informal settlements are still struggling to gain access to basic financial products and financial services in South Africa. This status quo has been caused by a number of factors such as the absence of an adequate financial inclusion policy, the geographical remoteness of financial institutions to most low-income earners, rigid identity documentary requirements, a lack of access to reliable and affordable Internet connection by low-income earners living in informal settlements and rural areas, a lack of financial illiteracy, the high costs of financial services, unemployment and poverty, over-indebtedness, and cultural and psychological hindrances to low-income earners in South Africa. Consequently, these factors have somewhat limited the access to financial services offered by financial institutions to low-income earners living in rural areas and informal settlements. In many countries, including South Africa, the financial sector is relying on innovative technology, especially in banking institutions, to aid in the offering of financial services to their customers. It is against this background that this article discusses selected legal and related challenges affecting the regulation and use of innovative technology to promote financial inclusion for low-income earners in South Africa. The article further discusses possible measures that could be adopted by the government, financial institutions and other relevant regulatory bodies to promote the use of innovative technology to combat the financial exclusion of low-income earners in South Africa.

Author Biography

Howard Chitimira, Faculty of Law at the North-West University

Senior Lecturer

North-West University           

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Published
2021-06-30
Section
Special Edition: Corporate and Financial Markets 2021