As part of the techUK Financial Inclusion Working Group, we hosted a workshop on 28 July 2020 to better understand the segments of the population and society who are excluded/vulnerable or at risk of being excluded from financial services.
It was also the opportunity to discuss how techUK can engage with the ecosystem and develop/take part in activities which can help the UK address the issues around digital and financial inclusion.
What’s at stake?
Figures produced by the Nobody in the Dark campaign - launched by a coalition of partners: Good Things Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, APLE Collective, Clean Slate and Mastercard - indicate that:
- 11.7 million people in the UK lack essential digital skills
- almost 50% of those with an income below £11,500 lack essential digital skills
The Inclusion Foundation estimates that about 13 million people in the UK face financial exclusion and that 1 in 4 adults will experience financial exclusion at least once.
COVID-19 is making the situation much more difficult for many households. A national COVID-19 financial impact tracker published by Standard Life Foundation found that an estimated 7 million households - a quarter of all households in the UK - had lost either a substantial part or all of their earned income as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Identifying vulnerable customers and those at risk
From the stats and figures above, there are different groups of people who have different needs. It is also apparent that financial inclusion goes far beyond vulnerable customers and that exclusion can affect many people at some point in their lives.
Members are in favor of adopting a flexible and broad definition of financial exclusion, so we capture all elements of exclusion and situations.
What is the ecosystem doing?
Members pointed to different existing initiatives and agreed on the need for the group to identify those to which techUK activities can contribute.
Some of the projects mentioned by members included:
Objectives for the group
Building on the figures and work outlined above the group will define objectives and set out ways to make an impact and help customers – such as working with industry on standards or developing supportive technology.
Members suggested looking to define key priorities, engaging with relevant stakeholders and the ecosystem, such as improved access to bank accounts and increased use of digital finance and financial services.
In our discussion, members highlighted the need for trust where consumers require financial advice which is often provided at a local level. techUK is working on a workshop with the ODI and local authorities on data sharing – if you would like to take part contact hugo.rousseau@techUK.org
- If you have any comments on the above, please let us know.
- We have started listing all current initiatives in this space and reaching out to organisations we could work with. If you are aware of financial inclusion initiatives, please let us know.
- We are particularly looking at defining what the concrete aims of the Financial Inclusion Group should be and the steps to take so please share any suggestions on this.