The UK is at the cutting edge of fintech and innovation in financial services, but we need to make sure no one is excluded and no one is left behind.
Covid-19 has magnified existing issues and created new challenges of financial exclusion including financial and personal vulnerabilities, access to services and information on financial products, intersecting struggles between health and care challenges and income instability, access to a ‘safety net’ of affordable credit and insurance products, and the impact of lower financial literacy and planning, heightened in times of crisis like the pandemic.
Tech and digital tools offer opportunities to address these challenges, from using data to identify customers vulnerable to cybercrime, to enabling appropriate disclosure of health and care obligations to enable adjustments and management of financial consequences.
While these innovations are already making important shifts – like digital IDs to combat fraud and financial wellbeing apps to support sustainable financial behaviour – more than ever, it’s crucial that we support and scale tech’s contribution to financial inclusion. This starts with drawing attention to the key exclusion issues, connecting with stakeholders, and inspiring innovation across the fintech community – all key aims of a new Finclusion 2021 campaign running throughout November.
“As the Kalifa Review made clear, there is a pressing need for the undoubted ingenuity and disruptive power of fintech to be energetically applied to eradicating the obstacles to financial resilience impacting the everyday lives of our fellow citizens in the UK,” said Shân M. Millie, founder of Bright Blue Hare, member of Tech Nation’s Insurtech Board, and co-chair Finclusion 2021.
“This was a big problem pre-Covid: it is, arguably, nothing short of an emergency today.”
Throughout November, Tech Nation’s Finclusion 2021 campaign will lead the charge to promote conversation and innovation for financial inclusion and wellbeing. Orchestrated by the Fintech Delivery Panel with partners Monzo, Atom bank, NatWest, Newcastle University, Fintrail, Financial Inclusion Commission, Innovate Finance, Auden and Bright Blue Hare, the month-long series of connected happenings will promote and inspire conversations covering the potential game-changing products and collaborations, to the here-and-now actions being driven by the UK’s leading firms reshaping financial services.
“The impact of financial exclusion on peoples’ lives can be devastating, leaving many without savings or insurance, and sometimes even without access to a bank account, often having to turn to unaffordable, unregulated credit when they have no other options,” explained Chris Pond, chair of the Financial Inclusion Commission, member of Tech Nation’s Fintech Delivery Panel, and co-chair of Finclusion 2021.
“If we can turn the energy and innovative ideas of the fintech community towards the development of products and services that meet people’s needs, we could help build resilience and improve financial well-being for millions.”
Our Finclusion Advisory Committee brings fintechs, insurtechs, and financial services institutions together with civic society organisations and lived experience experts to feed directly into the design and details of this significant industry campaign.
The goals – extending beyond the month – are to raise awareness of financial exclusion challenges, spotlight fintech solutions, inspire and scale new innovation, alongside a broader call-to-action for the entire fintech community to collaborate on action to directly solve financial inclusion challenges to the benefit of end consumers.
Victoria Roberts, director of the Fintech Delivery Panel and Insurtech Board at Tech Nation, said: “Fintech is driving fantastic innovation in financial services, but as this digitisation continues apace, we need to ensure no one is left behind.
“It’s great to see the fintech industry stepping up to this challenge, and to see fintech firms and financial institutions come together to listen and learn from lived experience experts as we developed the campaign. I am really excited to see what more Finclusion 2021 can do to help educate the sector on which challenges are most pressing and encourage innovative action to address these.”
Finclusion activities include virtual and in-person workshops, show-and-tell events, and sprint challenges; with thought leadership and discussion across social and traditional media.
Fintech entrepreneurs and ecosystem stakeholders are encouraged to get involved by:
Showcasing existing solutions Join the conversation online and share existing fintech solutions throughout November using #FinclusionUK2021
Attending Finclusion activities The Finclusion 2021 programme has a whole host of fascinating events for you to be part of. Explore the programme here and don’t forget to check back as more sessions are added!
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