Digital Interfaces and Debt: Understanding Mediated Decision Making Processes in High Cost Short Term Credit Products is a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project is led by Dr James Ash of Newcastle University, working alongside Prof Ben Anderson and Prof Paul Langley, both of Durham University.

The project is funded until February 2018.

High Cost Short Term Credit, or HCSTC, encompasses a range of credit products that are typically borrowed over a short period of time, lasting from just weeks to usually no more than 12 months, and come with high interest rates and charges. They are also usually unsecured loans. They include payday loans, instalment loans and cash loans.

Through empirical investigation we will explore the following questions:

  • Does the design of HCSTC websites and mobile apps influence customers’ decisions when taking a loan?
  • How does the growth in use of mobile technology alter the spaces and times within which customers apply for HCSTC?
  • How and to what extent do debt charities and financial regulators understand the role of digital technology in shaping people’s access to and use of HCSTC?

We’re interested in speaking to web and app designers, customers of HCSTC, debt support charities and financial regulators to understand the role the digital plays in people’s access to credit. By the end of the project we will produce a recommendation report, briefing notes and training tools to share with debt support charities, financial regulators and other interested groups.