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Certified Expert in Digital Finance

Digital finance offers a transformational solution for financial inclusion. Powered by the mobile phone, new data and technological innovations, it has become affordable and convenient for unbanked customers to access and use formal banking services. While new technological developments and financial players bring tremendous opportunities, the emerging landscape is also becoming more complex and is putting increasing pressure on traditional providers to go digital.

In this course you will learn about the emerging digital landscape as well as the new market participants and products that have disrupted the market. By taking the course, you will be enabled to successfully deploy digital technologies in your institution and leverage digital financial services (DFS) in your target markets.

This course is also available in French

What Do We Offer?

  • Six mandatory units including video lectures, a PDF script laying the theoretical foundation, examples, practical exercises, online tests and case studies.
  • A discussion forum for course related issues as well as for exchange of opinions and experiences with peers, tutors and the FSDF e-Campus team.
  • Personalized support from your e-Campus.
  • The possibility to attain a Frankfurt School Certificate after passing the final exam or a confirmation of course completion after completing the course. After passing the final exam, you will earn 6 ECTS (academic credit points of the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). The points can be credited to other academic learning programs. 

Tuition Fees*

Regular Tuition Fee:  EUR 1,550

Early Bird Fee: EUR 1,350 (by July 15)

  • 10% group discount (for 2 or more participants working for the same instutiton, informed to us before by an email)
  • 10% for FS Alumni
  • For additional packages, please contact us
Payment Options
  • Bank Transfer (bank fees to be covered by the participants)
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal

Payment in instalments is not possible.

*Subject to change

Target Audience

Microfinance practictioners, MFI managers, consultants, donors, MNO's, Retail and SME banks, Fintechs, Regulators and supervisors.


The course takes approx. 6 months assuming 5-7 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 6 mandatory units which build upon each other. You will take the units in sequence and need to pass an online multiple choice test before accessing the next unit.

There are two mandatory assignments which must be completed by a fixed deadline.

Not sure if you manage to complete the course within 6 months? No worries! You can apply for a course extension and join the next intake, against an administrative fee.


Course Start Course End Registration Early Bird
Sept. 1 Feb. 29 Jun. 1 - Sept. 1  By Jul. 15
Mar. 1 Aug. 31 Dec. 1 - Mar. 1 By Jan. 15

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will have profound knowledge and practical skills around the following topics:

• Understanding the history of financial services to reflect on today´s landscape to better understand future scenarios for financial services

• Key technologies driving digital finance and financial inclusion

• Profound knowledge on the digital finance ecosystem and it´s key stakeholders

• Key product and innovation areas in digital finance

• Success factors and business models in digital finance

• Importance and latest models of regulation and supervision

• Principles and key trends in risk management around digital financial services

• Strategic Management of services and business models

• Rapid design and launch of new customer centric products and services


Registration is open until September 30th. 

Course Details*

The Certified Expert in Digital Finance develops key skills and knowledge for professionals to succeed in different professions around digital financials services, innovation, and technology implementation as well as in regulation or risk management.

CEDF includes 6 mandatory units, 2 mandatory assignments and a final exam. Participants have the opportunity to choose between two electives, to round up professional skills relevant to their main learning goals.

*Subject to change

Unit 1

The Digital Finance Ecosystem

The first unit will give you a general introduction to digital finance and financial inclusion. You will learn about the development of finance in history, major technological trends and stakeholders in the ecosystem. The unit also covers critical success factors for DFS to tap their full potential for financial inclusion. The unit is rounded up by sharing key trends and service domains of digital finance

Unit 2

New Technologies

New technologies are the driver of the digital finance revolution. The unit is designed to introduce you the main new technologies that create significant impact. From blockchain over biometrics to artificial intelligence you will learn about the concepts and functionality of those technologies. You will learn how these technologies are being used to provide services, how they work and where the opportunities and challenges are.

Unit 3

Digital Payments and Remittances

Digital payments are an essential vehicle on the road to financial inclusion. They can occur through various channels, such as debit cards, ATMs or the internet. Yet, the mobile phone presents the greatest opportunity to reach the unbanked population. Mobile payments, mobile money and agent banking models are reaching millions of unbanked people providing them with tools to grow their business with financial services.

In this unit, you will learn about the concept of digital payments, its infrastructure, different payment models and technologies involved. You will deal with various forms of digital payments, including innovative payment solutions that helps to tackle some the most pressing challenges in development, such as access to energy.

Unit 4

Digital Products beyond Payments / Savings, Credit and Insurance

DFS need to go beyond payments. To reach sustainable financial inclusion other fields of financial demand need to be covered, too. The missing access to lending solutions is limiting MSMEs in their ability to run and grow their business properly. New financial service providers not only reinvent the distribution channel for lending services, they also reinvent loan scoring and credit analysis.

Another field of demand is digital savings and investing. Without access to those services, it is impossible for the unbanked to manage savings for retirement or unexpected expenses. Here DFS provider reinvent how insurance services for particular problems can be designed in order to provide a useful digital product solution. Last but not least, the technology impact is significant for the investment management industry. Investment solutions become digital, more effective and less costly.

Unit 4 will introduce you to each business field and explain how new provider and technologies reinvent financial services in this new ecosystem

Unit 5

Regulation and Supervision in Digital Finance

Appropriate regulation and supervision of digital financial services is a key success factor to achieve a sustainable and safe ecosystem for all stakeholders. This unit will share the key principles of regulation and supervision and emphasize their application in various examples. Course participants gain not only a profound understanding of key principles but also how to apply them accordingly including the use of Regtech and regulatory sandbox approaches.

Unit 6

Risk Management in Digital Finance

Digital Finance comes with well known but also new forms of risks. This unit covers the key principles of risk management in digital finance which includes an overview of risks and how they can me managed effectively. Corporate governance as well as cybersecurity and new technology risks will enable participants to identify and manage different and new risks effectively.

Unit 7

Elective Units

Strategic Management of Digital Financial Services

The financial inclusion landscape is changing rapidly, with new technologies, players and business models emerging at an incredible pace. Traditional players, like microfinance institutions, can no longer afford to watch and wait. They have to leverage into the future and select the right digitization strategy in order to increase their client outreach and deliver a wide range of financial services via new channels.

The unit takes you through the process of selecting and implementing the right strategy to go digital, from product development and technology selection through to applying the right distribution and marketing strategy. You will also learn about the risks related to digital financial services and how to address them adequately.

Customer-Centric Product Design: Build your own Product

The emergence of digital financial services has provided access to millions of hitherto unbanked customers. Yet, usage of these new products often remains low, due to one-size-fits-all solutions that customers struggle to understand and use. In order for DFS to tap the full potential for financial inclusion, products need to be customer-centric. Providers need to develop a deep understanding of their client’s needs, preferences and behavior and build products based on that notion.

This unit will facilitate that process. You will learn how to design digital financial services and be able to offer solutions that meet the actual needs of your target clients. The unit takes you through a systematic development process from generating customer insights to designing and implementing customer-centric digital products and services

Training Approach

The flexibility of our courses offers you the opportunity to follow you own schedule and to combine daily work with professional development.

The highest quality offered will immediately improve your daily job performance as well as the performance of your institution.

Training Material

Video Lectures

  • Introvideos: After viewing the lectures, participants will have a basic understanding of each topic and will be able to classify importance and relevance of different techniques and aspects in a broader context.
  • Web-based Presentations: Web based presentation complement the scripts and give additional input on important topics.

Online Tests

Each unit ends with an online test comprising a set of 10 - 15 multiple choice questions. Only after having successfully completed an online test you will gain access to the next unit.

Reading Material

A PDF script is for most of our courses the main studying material. This reading material provides basic concepts and principles applicable to the subject of each unit.


The key to successful learning is the immediate use of newly acquired knowledge and the transfer of theory into practice. Our online courses are therefore supplemented by mandatory assignments.

Discussion Forum

A course discussion forum enables the interaction between participants and trainers and facilitates the exchange of experiences as well as possibilities to ask questions or get clarifications.

Suggestions & Recommendations

This course gives you the flexibility to decide on the timing and pace of your learning experience. However we will provide you with recommendations for you to take as much as possible from this course.

Your schedule: We will provide you a course schedule including voluntary and mandatory deadlines. The course schedule serves as a guideline for your personal learning schedule and will help you to complete the programme within the given time frame.

Exercises: Even though the exercises in the script are not mandatory we strongly advise that you use them as an opportunity to check your knowledge and to prepare for the final exam.

Networking Opportunities: Use the forum to introduce yourself to your peer participants and to start interesting discussions.

Final Exam

Passing a final examination is a requirement for obtaining your certificate.

  • Location: The final exam takes place online
  • Duration: The final exam takes 2 hours.
  • Costs: An additional final exam fee will be charged for the second and third final exam attempt
  • Certificate: Your digital certificate will be available upon passing the final examination.

If you do not wish to take the final exam, you will receive a confirmation of course participation after completing the course.

Course Author: Christian Hecker

Christian Hecker

Christian Hecker conceptualizes and creates executive trainings and interactive workshops for executive clients since many years. Christian covers executive trainings for large corporates, banks, investment companies, and public organizations. Trainings and workshops are held in Germany as well as international training mandates mainly in Asia, Africa and other European countries.


Christian has been selected to speak at leading universities including Zhejiang University, Stanford University, University of Edinburgh, and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

In his professional career Christian held managing roles for Commerzbank and ING Bank in Germany, Singapore, China, and India. Most recently he worked directly for the Board of ING Bank, Germany’s leading digital bank.

Christian graduated from Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and holds certifications from Germany’s Finance and Treasury Association as well as a Fintech certification from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School in the UK.

Christian is the author of academic courses on Digital Finance and Blockchain Technology. In his trainings he combines theoretical frameworks with the extensive practical know-how from his international career.

Course Tutor: Floreta Zhulali

Floreta Zhulali

Floreta Zhulali is a digital financial services and innovation executive with experience in Asia, Europe and Africa. She has hands-on experience with Fintech companies and solutions, digital transformation of banks, innovative product and service design and agile business culture. Whilst working as an international consultant for reputable companies such as European Investment Bank and EBRD,  in implementing large scale programs with local Banks in Africa, she also volunteers to build innovative financial ecosystems through Mentorship in Incubators and Accelerators.

Course contributes to UN SDGs

All our courses contribute to the following SDGs


This course will enhance your knowledge in the following SDGs. The SWA offers professional and executive courses dedicated to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Beyond your Certificate

Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance

The Certified Expert in Digital Finance is an Elective Module of the  Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance. Join our Master programme after completing the CEDF course and waive one elective module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Master programme.

Frankfurt School Summer Academy

Expand your skills and knowledge in digital finance with the Frankfurt School Summer Academy. This one-week, on-campus programme allows participants to choose from a selection of specialised technical tracks. 

Read more about our Digital & Inclusive Finance Track here.

Diploma in Financial Inclusion

The Certified Expert in Digita Finance is part of the curriculum of our Diploma in Financial Inclusion. Enroll in our Diploma after completing the CEDF course and waive one module. Also, the amount you paid for the course will be deducted from the final tuition fee of the Diploma.

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Contact us

Sheila Pierre-Louis
Programme Assistant