CR Announces Grant from Flourish Ventures to Strengthen Digital Financial Protections for Consumers [Consumer Reports]

CR Announces Grant from Flourish Ventures to Strengthen Digital Financial Protections for Consumers [Consumer Reports]

Originally posted on Consumer Reports

$1.5M Grant Will Boost CR’s Work to Support a Fair and Inclusive Marketplace

YONKERS, NY – Consumer Reports announced today that it has received a $1.5 million grant from Flourish Ventures to monitor, evaluate and strengthen consumer protections in the burgeoning digital financial marketplace.

The digital transformation of retail finance, accelerated by the pandemic, means consumers must now navigate a dynamic financial ecosystem with a constant flood of new products, with rapidly changing functionality. Despite consumer expectations, a number of these new products fall outside of the protections of traditional banking, and some repackage old risks—such as predatory loan terms and hidden fees—into new app-based formats.

“Digital finance is a frontier of consumer opportunity and risk. It’s rife with both market-changing innovation and bad actors making money at consumers’ expense,” said Marta L. Tellado, president and CEO of Consumer Reports. “Financial products should let consumers spend, save, borrow, and invest in ways that respect their privacy, provide the benefits they expect, and protect them from discriminatory and predatory practices. We are thrilled that this partnership with Flourish will help us further advocate for reforms that promote transparency and assert consumers’ control over their financial health and personal data.”

Consumer Reports will conduct surveys, user experience evaluations and other research on the use of digital finance products in the marketplace. CR’s Digital Lab will apply rigorous testing and analysis to a number of popular digital finance service product categories to evaluate the benefits they provide and the potential risks they may pose for consumers.

Consumer Reports will share its research insights with the industry and advocate for pro-consumer technical standards and protections and push for needed safeguards at the federal and state level. The partnership aims to empower consumers with actionable information they can use to navigate digital financial products and services and galvanize industry and government officials to put consumer interests first. It will help CR explore and develop new digital finance tools and products that could disrupt the marketplace and better serve consumers.

“We are excited to partner with Consumer Reports, a trusted organization with a long history of empowering consumers through transparency and data,” said Kabir Kumar, Director, Flourish Ventures. “The opportunity to support ground-breaking analysis that will strengthen digital financial protections is key to our mission to build a fair financial world.” The grant was made from Flourish Ventures’ fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Consumer Reports is hiring new talent to drive this effort, including Director, Financial Fairness AdvocacyProgram Manager, Digital FinanceDigital Finance Test Engineer; and a Senior Survey Research Associate.

About Consumer Reports
Founded in 1936, CR has a mission to create a fair and just marketplace for all. Widely known for our rigorous research and testing of products and services, we also survey millions of consumers each year, report extensively on marketplace issues, and advocate for consumer rights and protections around safety as well as digital rights, financial fairness, and sustainability. CR is independent and nonprofit.