Arizona unveils nation’s first ‘fintech sandbox’ to encourage innovation
PHOENIX – Arizona doesn’t have any beaches, but the state wants technology entrepreneurs to come play in its new sandbox.
The Attorney General’s Office on Friday unveiled the country’s first “fintech sandbox,” a program to encourage financial technology innovation by easing regulatory burdens.
The program is designed to make it easier for businesses to create new ways of providing financial services such as mobile banking, payment systems and investment advice.
“We’re hoping that if companies are on the cutting edge of providing these services that they’ll apply with our office,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
“We want to create an environment here in Arizona where startups can save not only time, but money in compliance costs and legal expenses.”
Companies in the program will be able to test products to a capped number of consumers without being subject to certain regulations and fees.
“Businesses will be not only allowed to flourish, but ideas, maybe good ideas, won’t be crushed in the embryonic stage,” Brnovich said.
The sandbox will be administered by the Attorney General’s Office, which will use its oversight to ensure that companies don’t engage in deceptive practices.
“What we’re trying to do is balance protecting the consumers but at the same time allowing entrepreneurs and technology to flourish to make our lives easier, more convenient, and for companies to be able to thrive so they can continue to grow our economy,” Brnovich said.
Brnovich said countries such as Australia, Great Britain, Singapore and Mexico already have similar programs.
“For whatever reason here in the United States, we have been lagging behind,” he said. “So Arizona now is taking the lead.
“But I do think that you’re going to see other states, even the federal government, start adopting a lighter touch when it comes to things like mobile banking and money transaction.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.