DIGITIZATION ERA: CONVENIENCE OR A PROBLEM?

Digital technologies indeed make life better and easier, but how can one protect consumers’ interests so that they do not face new problems instead of new opportunities? The issue was discussed at Moscow Financial Forum by speakers of the Financial Education of Consumers in Digital Era: Risks and Opportunities session.

According to the statistics of the Bank of Russia, the number of victims to digital fraud keeps growing. It is mainly attributed to the fact that consumers are not knowledgeable in modern technologies. “We can see that one can lose one’s money and fall victim to fraud in one click”, Anna Zelentsova, member of Supervisory Council of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Financial Education, Strategic Coordinator of the project run by Ministry of Finance of the RF, “Assistance to Enhancement of Public Financial Awareness and Financial Education Development in the Russian Federation”, stated.

“The majority of users of digital services do not feel the risk. Many are too excited by the easiness of closing a transaction. In fact, the situation is graver than it seems”, Deputy Minister of Finance of the RF Sergey Storchak agreed with the moderator.

General Director of the Analytical Center of National Agency for Financial Studies Guzelia Imaeva stressed the fact that 22% of financial entities are planning to reduce the number of offices and switch to mobile banking. “Financial availability is approaching digitization in leaps and bounds”, Advisor to Head of the Consumer Rights Protection and Financial Services Availability Service of the Bank of Russia Alexandr Kolankov confirmed. He also drew attention to the increasing popularity of gadgets and applications and gamification as an education trend.

All speakers stressed a high level of digital literacy demonstrated by young audience. However, there is still a number of problems here despite the abundance of opportunities. “The credit sector is often criticized because disadvantaged population becomes unprotected due to a need for money and a low level of information literacy. It is not literacy, not the number of banks, not digitization but the income level of the population that matters”, Georgy Gorshkov, First Deputy President and Chairman of the Board of Pochta Bank PJSC stated.

“We hope our educational resources will provide more opportunities for increasing financial awareness”, Sergey Storchak noted. According to Deputy Minister of Finance of the RF, another Financial Awareness Week for children and youth that will start on October 31 will be dedicated to the financial services market.
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