16 May Our 10 Favourite Financial Inclusion Companies
At Creditspring, our mission is to put people in the UK one step closer to financial stability. We are all about financial inclusion, and have spent the past year and a half getting to know the experts, understanding the problems and most importantly finding ways to fix things.
To us, ‘Financial Inclusion’ is not just about getting people into a “system” and then considering the job done. It’s about giving people a way to solve financial problems that affect every day of their lives. Solutions that are appropriate for their financial and personal goals.
If someone gets a bank account and then only uses it to get a payday loan, that doesn’t look like a win to us. However, if they are able to get an account which helps them save, or can consolidate existing debts into a loan that they can afford more easily, we see that as a good thing. We love stuff that puts people on solid ground, gives them more control over their lives and helps them to stop worrying about money.
As we wait for our FCA authorisation, we thought we’d put together a list of a few of our favourite ‘Financial Inclusion/Wellness’ companies. In our opinion (and in no particular order), these are the people that are fighting the good fight.
We think that The Finance Innovation Lab is doing great stuff, and they are certainly one to watch and follow. They have a vision for a ‘financial system that is democratic, responsible & fair – one that works for people & planet’. Better yet, they aren’t just about talk. They have lofty goals, but they are matching them with action.
Instead of just wishing things would be better, they are going out and making changes for the better. They are a startup incubator exclusively for ideas that fit their mission, hold lots of interesting events and have a very passionate and smart community. @TheFinanceLab
We are in awe of the people at Income Max. They are really working wonders over there and it’s an amazing thing to see. We were lucky enough to be invited to their office to see the magic happen, and we were so, so inspired. They are helping some of our most vulnerable members of society in a way we have never seen before.
Incomemaxx find people money that is meant for vulnerable people, but that goes largely unclaimed. Usually, that comes from benefits or other welfare grants. They have dozens stories of finding people real, life-changing money – £20,000 or £40,000 or maybe even more. Their offices are full of thank you cards from people they helped – you can barely see the windows!
They have an amazing attitude despite doing seriously tough work, dealing with some of the most vulnerable people we have ever seen. The world needs a lot more Income Maxes… @income_max
Responsible Finance are ‘the voice of the Responsible Finance industry.’ They are spearheading the fight for financial inclusion, looking for members to join their ranks and combine forces. They publish loads of fantastic research, with really clever views on policy and how to make things better. One of our favourite pieces was their recent work on Inclusive Credit Scoring.
This is a very important area, and one that needs much more discussion and progress. Responsible Finance offer their members support to access funding opportunities and training events. @resp_finance
We were fascinated when Loqbox first popped up on our radar. They have a super innovative solution for helping someone to build a credit score. We all know how important credit scores are, so if you don’t have one, the odds are stacked against you. But how do you build a credit score if no one will give you a loan (to help build your credit score) since you don’t have one to begin with?
Enter Loqbox. These guys have come up with quite an elegant way to not only build your score, but help you save at the same time. Each month, you choose how much you want to save, and Loqbox then treats these monthly savings as ‘repayments’. At the end of the term, you have ‘repaid’ a bunch of savings to yourself, resulting in a healthier credit file and a safety net to boot, without any fees.
Our take? They’re geniuses. Utter geniuses. @LOQBOX
The Center for Responsible Credit are also on a mission to change credit for the better. They have some very really interesting insights, and they offer a very fresh view of the world of credit, and more importantly on how to fix it. You might have seen that the team at CRC have recently been teaming up with Michael Sheen to form the End High Cost Credit Alliance. This is huge! It seemed like the rest of the country had stopped thinking about payday lending because it’s been the focus of the regulators for a while, but we agree there’s still a long way to go.
Our view is that it’s just no longer called ‘payday’ but instead talked about as ‘instalment’ credit. This shows a lower APR, but the net result is the consumer ends up paying even more and may often be in debt for longer than necessary! The Centre for Responsible Credit are making strides that benefit everybody: especially people who are in a financially tricky situation. @responsiblecred
The folks at Bean are saving people a lot of money. According to their website, ‘the average Bean user saves over £672 per year.’ They do this by finding, tracking and managing your bills and subscriptions. How many of us have old subscriptions we have forgotten about and are still paying for?
Sometimes, we fight so hard to get an amazing deal with our phone or TV providers that we forget when the agreement renews, and the company then jacks up the fees. Bean make this a thing of the past, so we reckon you should definitely check them out. @usebean
The work coming out of the Financial Inclusion Centre is fantastic, and we’ve found it super useful. It feels like hardly anybody knows this space better than them. They are always campaigning for good and shining a light on all the bad practices and hypocrisies that plague the industry.
Their team of experts are really authoritative and know exactly how to hold the bad boys of the credit world to account. For that, they have our admiration.
Most people may not think of Neyber as a financial inclusion company. They could be seen instead as an “employee wellness company”. For us, these things go hand in hand, and we love what they do. Neyber is not only fighting the good fight… They have created a new fight. They are helping people across the UK, in many socially important professions (police, nurses, etc), reduce their interest costs on existing debt.
The model is a simple one. Show them your messy finances (with interest rates all over the place), and they will consolidate them into one simple, affordable loan. By putting money back into people’s pockets, Neyber isn’t just helping them, but helping the rest of society. Happier policeman and nurses equal happier everyone else! @helloneyber
Credit Kudos are trying to change the game in credit scoring and reduce the stronghold held by the big 3 credit agencies. We all love an underdog, but these clever people are showing a lot of promise. They are taking advantage of Open Banking to give lenders a much better view of a customer’s ability to pay back.
Traditional credit scores aren’t the only answer, and they can be plagued with bad information or noise. Sometimes credit scores don’t even exist for some customers! Over-reliance on traditional scoring methods is preventing millions of people from getting fair access to credit, and Credit Kudos are doing something about it. They’re letting lenders skip the whole process and make potentially better decisions because of it.
Their website says: ‘We’re making credit fairer for everyone’. Can’t say much fairer than that – We’re 100% in your corner. @creditkudos
There are a bunch of savings apps out there. It was once a playing field filled with all kinds of weird and wonderful companies (chat bots and emojis usually a priority, savings not so much…). We’re happy to say that interactive savings are certainly here to stay, and we think Cleo is one of the best. What we like about Cleo is the super clean style and easy to use interface. Even better, there aren’t any gimmicks and there’s no messing about.
Cleo is ‘Your AI friend that looks after your money.’ In normal words, it’s a slick app that helps you save money and budget. @meetcleo
Please let us know your thoughts on any of the above and, of course, we would love to hear any other recommendations. Who have we missed? Are you working on something incredible that you think we should know about? Get in touch on our Contact Us page.