Independent Research and Policy Advocacy

Designing a consent artefact for digital financial services to cater to constrained users

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Consent is the most salient part of communication between users and providers of Digital Financial Services (DFS). It is the first step towards safeguarding users’ privacy and interests. However, there are many deficiencies with the consent and notice model for DFS, which are exacerbated for new to technology and constrained users, i.e., users with limited general, digital and financial literacy and first time smartphone users. This is concerning, considering a greater number of users in India are new to the smartphone technology and a large part of our population has limited literacy. In this policy brief, we review the literature to uncover the deficiencies of the consent model and propose measures to improve the consent artefact for new to technology and constrained users.

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  1. I think its terrific that you have focussed on this aspect. I may add that this is relevant to all digital services, where even college educated users aren’t fully aware of what they are committing towards and the risks entailed. The service conditions of use are normally framed for those with doctorates in law! Use of graphics and audio will caution a person about the key risks involved. Too much of recent audio-visual promotions on TV/online communicate the “look there’s easy money to be made by anyone at a click” aspect, while the caveats on loss are fast-narrated like The Chipmunk’s version of songs! I do hope that you will push this through to a mandatory change, eg clicking through the caveats audio-visual page with an I agree to at least provide the opportunity for a customer/user to become familiar with what it all entails. Once again, well done to the authors.

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