Opinion  

Fintech has a purpose for the good of society

Ammar Akhtar

Ammar Akhtar

Financial wellbeing is a longstanding issue for many people and one that has been supercharged by the effects of the pandemic.

This growing concern is pushing banks to explore how they can better help customers improve their situations, while more generally extending services to previously underrepresented sectors.

A key driving force behind this movement is the rise of fintech players, who have created innovative solutions that not only aim to help banks optimise products and transactions, but also enable individuals to achieve their financial goals and do more with their money. 

With this in mind, let’s look at how fintech is being used for good. 

Personalising financial health 

Standardised credit checking tools have traditionally been used to determine whether to offer someone a loan. It is an imperfect system that often fails to account for unique but critical differences between personal circumstances, or penalises them for a low score. 

Take someone who has a steady income and little to no debt; on the surface, this person is financially healthy and represents little risk for the financial institution in question. Yet as they have never had a credit card or borrowed money, they do not have the credit history to qualify for a loan – and if they do, their rate might be set extremely high. 

Accenture’s 2019 global financial services consumer study found that the vast majority of customers (80 per cent) would be willing to share data in return for personalised and convenient services. The impetus is on banks and financial services companies to convert this data into actionable insights, which in turn enable them to deliver tailored offerings based on actual usage and behaviour. 

Thanks to the emergence of a new generation of cloud-native core banking platforms, companies can now deliver products that are priced on behaviour and can guide customers towards reduced charges or relevant promotions. These modern platforms support integrated data sets and a single source of truth, which give them the ability to create real-time and personalised experiences based on advanced analytics. 

To return to our earlier example, financial institutions utilising such systems can offer customers the chance to lower their interest rate as their credit score increases, providing an incentive to improve their overall financial health, while also ensuring that customers are not being priced out. 

A case in point 

Financial health indicators have a strong bearing on other important aspects of a person’s life, such as whether or not they can rent an apartment.  

For the millions of tenants across the UK, the costs associated with renting a property can be sizeable. That is before you even consider the significant upfront costs involved in tenancy deposits, which require individuals to front up potentially thousands of pounds. 

In the past this has held people back, forcing them to stay in undesirable, or even dangerous, situations until they can gather the resources to move. New market entrants are here to solve such common pain points and give individuals more convenient and affordable options to choose from.