Written by Nicola Andereson – Fintech Scotland
The past few months have been unprecedented, and as we continue to hear the developing views of what’s being described as the ‘new norms’ it’s likely we’re going to continue to experience more turbulent and unchartered times ahead.
The impact of COVID-19 is being felt far and wide and is presenting so many challenges for everyone as we all work together on the immediate priority of staying safe and healthy. But for many people there is an increasing additional worry about money and finances as they grapple with the consequences of an unexpected income hit, closing a business or loosing their job. Many are facing extremely difficult circumstances, possibly exacerbating previous problems or exposing others to real financial concerns for the first time.
Since I’ve known it, the spirit in the FINTECH SCOTLAND COMMUNITY has always been about inclusion and better outcomes for people and business. In the last few weeks we’ve seen many of the fintech SME’s turn their attention to the impact being felt across society as businesses, and fundamentally people, look for help to access money, finance and help with basic essentials. It’s what these fintech businesses excel at and the results continue to inspire and impress.
Scottish fintech’s are using their data analytic capabilities and technologies to develop a range of propositions that address increasingly difficult issues. Alongside members of the FinTech Scotland consumer panel they are exploring newly developing priority issues to help people get access to services that help meet some basics fundamental needs.
These developing examples of ‘access, access, access’ include:
INBEST’s work with community leaders and the impartial debt adviser sector to help people understand if they may be entitled to social security benefits like universal credit within minutes. It’s using AI, Open Banking and data analytics to help pinpoint potential ways for advisers to help financially vulnerable people to maximise their income.
SOAR’s is working hard across the with credit union sector, building on its experience of working with this important community service and helping them move to an online and digital platform. This is enabling more credit union customers get access to vital savings or credit from the community lenders that know and understand the local circumstances.
AMIQUS continues to use its expertise to help people verify their identity in a digital environment to help them gain access to vital services and benefits. This team use their data and technology capabilities to help employers, banks, government and other vital services clarify an individuals identity in a virtual world.
DIRECT ID, a fintech data and tech expert is working to help give lenders, employers, landlords and others a means to adapt physical parts of their processes that depended on premises or branches being opened, to virtual and online systems.
History tells us that it’s the moments of crisis, or at times of emergency, that great leadership and innovation spark progress and change. COVID-19 has raised a number of issues that people need immediate help with. We must hope there will not be another crisis like this again, but must not loose the opportunity to address the experiences and needs we’re seeing as a result of this pandemic.
It’s time to rise to challenge, working to enable greater financial inclusion and access in unprecedented times feels like an opportunity not to miss. I’m privileged to work in fintech and with the Scottish community who are keen to progress this issue. If you’re interested in collaboration or hearing more please get in touch.
Stephen Ingledew, from Fintech Scotland will be joining the panel to discuss issues like this at our upcoming event Fintech in Scotland: the response to Covid-19 and future opportunities and challenges. Book your free place today by clicking this link.