Make recourse clear,
quick and responsive

The uptake of digital payments was already astonishing. Then COVID-19 tripled the volume of digital governmental payments to new users. These shifts have seen a commensurate increase in disputes and grievances.

Still, today, recourse systems remain a formality. Too often, they are archaic, irrelevant and not user-centric. Grievance redressal procedures have simply not kept pace with the increasing sophistication of payment platforms.

Recourse requires an overhaul. Find out how to succeed at it.


Leverage service-level agreements to include incentives for creating interoperable and responsive recourse mechanisms.

Ensure grievance mechanisms are toll-free, so that users do not need to pay to seek help.

Track user feedback and complaints, including data on frequency, referral rate, resolution status and transaction failures. Transaction failure data can be monitored to request remedies when providers fall below a specific threshold.

  • Periodic spot checks of recourse mechanism efficacy should be conducted to discuss feedback and suggest improvements.
  • Partnering with citizen-led initiatives through innovative community-level campaigns can help to improve grievance resolution.


WFP Kenya Accountability Together Helpline involved more than 40 partners, which collaborated on outreach through information, education and communication materials. It leveraged the most widely used local and county channels and consistently delivered actionable information.

Amader Kotha Helpline in Bangladesh distributed helpline cards that fit in lanyards carrying workers’ factory identity cards. To improve women’s access to the helpline, voice messages were sent directly to workers’ phones. The helpline is largely staffed by women officers to increase comfort among women callers.

AliExpress China Buyer Protection Programme offers a dispute resolution process that allows customers to open a direct dispute with the seller, who must settle within 15 days. If recourse from the seller is delayed, the customer is refunded first while an investigation is carried out.

Maji Voice Kenya Water Board electronic feedback system enables complaints to be submitted directly. The initiative was set up by the Water Services Regulatory Board and all players in Kenya for accountability.