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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
he Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is among the world’s major fintech hubs, well positioned to develop fintech initiatives from its traditional strengths in financial services. Key factors enabling the HKSAR to emerge as a fintech hub include its presence as an international financial center, its free-flowing talent and capital, a highly developed information and technology communication (ITC) infrastructure, and its most unique trait, a geographical and strategic advantage by proximity to the market in Mainland China.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The scenario planning exercises help to draw out the surveillance priorities and stress- test the robustness of those priorities to uncertainties in the decade ahead. To inform the two priorities on confronting risks and uncertainties and mitigating spillovers, the scenarios illustrate how different shocks and alternative policy approaches carry their own risks and can have both positive and negative spillovers. The scenarios also illustrate some of the complex economic and non-economic factors that feed into the priority on economic sustainability and demonstrate how resource constraints and changing economic structures underpin the need for a unified policy approach.
Mr. Ashraf Khan and Majid Malaika
Based on technical assistance to central banks by the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department and Information Technology Department, this paper examines fintech and the related area of cybersecurity from the perspective of central bank risk management. The paper draws on findings from the IMF Article IV Database, selected FSAP and country cases, and gives examples of central bank risks related to fintech and cybersecurity. The paper highlights that fintech- and cybersecurity-related risks for central banks should be addressed by operationalizing sound internal risk management by establishing and strengthening an integrated risk management approach throughout the organization, including a dedicated risk management unit, ongoing sensitizing and training of Board members and staff, clear reporting lines, assessing cyber resilience and security posture, and tying risk management into strategic planning.. Given the fast-evolving nature of such risks, central banks could make use of timely and regular inputs from external experts.
Chikako Baba, Cristina Batog, Enrique Flores, Mr. Borja Gracia, Ms. Izabela Karpowicz, Piotr Kopyrski, Mr. James Roaf, Ms. Anna Shabunina, and Xin Cindy Xu
Europe’s high pre-existing level of financial development can partly account for the relatively smaller reach of fintech payment and lending activities compared to some other regions. But fintech activity is growing rapidly. Digital payment schemes are expanding within countries, although cross-border and pan-euro area instruments are not yet widespread, notwithstanding important enabling EU level regulation and the establishment of instant payments by the ECB. Automated lending models are developing but remain limited mainly to unsecured consumer lending. While start-ups are pursuing platform-based approaches under minimal regulation, there is a clear trend for fintech companies to acquire balance sheets and, relatedly, banking licenses as they expand. Meanwhile, competition is pushing many traditional banks to adopt fintech instruments, either in-house or by acquisition, thereby causing them to increasingly resemble balanced sheet-based fintech companies. These developments could improve the efficiency and reach of financial intermediation while also adding to profitability pressures for some banks. Although the COVID-19 pandemic could call into question the viability of platform-based lending fintechs funding models given that investors could face much higher delinquencies, it may also offer growth opportunities to those fintechs that are positioned to take advantage of the ongoing structural shift in demand toward virtual finance.
Delphine Prady, Herve Tourpe, Sonja Davidovic, and Soheib Nunhuck
During the 2020 pandemic, the majority of countries have provided income support to households at an unprecedented speed and scale. Social distancing measures and the large penetration of mobile phones in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) have encouraged government-to-person (G2P) transfers through mobile platforms. This paper presents a comprehensive framework for sustainable money solutions in support of social assistance. The framework consists of eight building blocks that may help policymakers i) take stock and assess emergency fixes taken to scale up mobile money in a crisis context and ii) develop sustainable long-term solutions for mobile G2P transfers.
Manasa Patnam and Weijia Yao
Mobile money services have rapidly expanded across emerging and developing economies and enabled new ways through which households and firms can conduct payments, save and send remittances. We explore how mobile money use can impact economic outcomes in India using granular data on transactions from Paytm, one of the largest mobile money service provider in India with over 400 million users. We exploit the period around the demonetization policy, which prompted a surge in mobile money adoption, and analyze how mobile money affects traditional risk-sharing arrangements. Our main finding is that mobile money use increases the resilience to shocks by dampening the impact of rainfall shocks on nightlights-based economic activity and household consumption. We complement these findings by conducting a firm survey around a phased targeting intervention which incentivized firms to adopt the mobile payment technology. Our results suggest that firms adopting mobile payments improved their sales after six-months of use, compared to other firms. We also elicit firms’ subjective expectations on future sales and find mobile payment adoption to be associated with lower subjective uncertainty and greater sales optimism.