GDPR Consent: Getting to Yes! Yes! Yes!

Imagine that you have decided to propose to your amazing partner. There’s just one answer you’re hoping to hear: “Yes!”

Things are a bit trickier for the bank that loaned you the thousands of dollars to buy the engagement ring. If it wants to e-mail you about your banking relationship, you need to give clear, affirmative consent by reading some information and clicking “Yes” or “I Agree.” If you want to sign up for text alerts when it is time to make a payment on the loan, you must give consent again. Willing to be called on your mobile phone? Yep, consent again. Use the bank’s website on your laptop at home? Time for additional agreements about cookies. How about mobile web on your phone? Surprise! You will encounter yet another request for a “Yes.”

Obtaining consent is Step One, and many financial institutions are now putting that into the origination agreements and as customers sign up for service.  However, the nightmare really begins as they leverage new channels and customers opt-out by channel or product or both.

Constantly giving (and asking for) consent for every type of channel interaction can be exhausting for both the customer and the lender. How can lenders, marketers, and other data processors solve the consent problem in 2018—without destroying the customer experience?  For our clients, the answer is Katabat Liberate, which enables customers to provide consent in one sitting, resulting in a content management process that is compliant AND strengthens the customer relationship.

From Brussels with Love

The sudden growth in notifications of changes to privacy policies and terms of service stems from GDPR, which took effect in May 2018. Anyone who does business in the EU or handles data of EU citizens is governed by the regulation, which imposes strict penalties for improper use or protection of data.

Companies around the globe scrambled to meet GDPR requirements, and many wonder if it would be most effective just to introduce similar requirements worldwide. The fact is, however, that there are many different regulatory requirements, and they all evolved because of different local business practices, preferences around privacy, and government structures. In the United States, many people predict GDPR-like rules may be on the horizon.

What do these regulations mean for the lender who is hoping to communicate effectively with the happily betrothed? Expect the relationship status to read, “It’s complicated.”

The Joy of Clicking

Consent requests (as they are currently handled) disrupt the customer experience. In response, customers are reacting in understandable ways—at some points threatening their relationship with organizations that have been handling their data responsibly for a long time.

Many customers ignore or bypass the repeated requests for consent. This can deeply impact communication with their financial institution, preventing the customer from receiving critical information. From the bank’s perspective, it makes it more difficult to deliver a customer experience that will satisfy and retain their client, and it hinders insight into the customer’s creditworthiness or interest in additional financial products.

How can consumer lenders solve this problem and allow their customers to remain connected with fewer clicks on consent requests?

The most important factor is awareness of the omnichannel nature of today’s customer communications. One means of communication is not enough. When properly handled, any touchpoint can present an opportunity to solicit explicit consent for multiple modes of communication. Whether the customer gets in contact via phone, web, or visiting a branch, the interaction offers the opportunity to obtain consent for multiple means of connection. Of course, you must know what consent customers have already given, or you risk irritating them by repeating the same requests!

Tools to Guide Customers and Vet Partners

On a strategic level, customers need to be persuaded of the benefits of allowing you to retain and use their personal data. Eva Piera, Director of Institutional Relations at BBVA, points out that the enhanced services possible with full access to data create a “virtuous circle of trust.” The benefits outweigh any concerns, and customers come to realize that sharing their data brings value. As McKinsey analysts point out, “There is a fine line to walk: educating and empowering consumers without confusing, scaring, or boring them.”

Keeping track of customer consent and serving the right consent request at the right time is much easier with an automated workflow solution. (Click here to learn more about Katabat.)

A good customer experience management platform can keep track of customers’ preferred channels and what permissions they have or have not yet given, so that you can obtain additional permissions on the next contact without duplicating efforts.

A customer can initiate contact by walking into a branch or calling a customer service line, leading to an agent texting them or directing them to a website to go through a series of consent protocols. Your organization can reach out with an e-mail template (including an appropriate disclaimer that indicates the message is solely about seeking consent to communicate).

The flexibility and configurability support a level of service customers expect and move them quickly past the consent hurdle and on to a long, happy relationship.

Katabat prides itself on its commitment to data protection. PCI-DSS Level 1 certified for more than a decade, the company offers a range of solutions to deliver optimal customer experience and regulatory compliance backed by top security.

Now it’s your turn. How are you dealing with the challenges of getting consent from customers and optimizing the customer experience?

If you’d like to learn how the Liberate automated workflow solution can solve the consent challenge for your institution, contact me at 

Matt Butler is North American Sales Director for Katabat.


Katabat is the leading provider of debt collections software to banks, agencies, and alternative lenders. Founded in 2006 and led by a diverse team of lending executives and leading software engineers, Katabat pioneered digital collections and has led the industry ever since. It is our mission to provide the best credit collections software in the market and solve debt resolution from the perspectives of both lenders and borrowers.

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