Money Advice Scotland is piloting open banking technology from Experian which could help it to significantly speed up the early stages of debt advice.
The money charity’s new webchat service uses Experian’s open banking tool, the Affordability Passport, to gather crucial income and expenditure data, as well as a statement of consumer credit cards.
The information it gathers – which is said to take just minutes – is used to ensure that customers can quickly share their financial position, enabling Money Advice Scotland to offer the best support.
The partnership comes at the same time as the launch of the very first national webchat gateway into money advice, which aims to ease pressure on money advisers.
Anyone with financial worries can speak to an adviser who will answer any initial crisis questions and refer them to a regulated provider.
David Hilferty, deputy chief executive officer at Money Advice Scotland, says that with advisers facing the repercussions of stagnating incomes and rising personal debt levels among households on the lowest incomes, the new tool can help to bring speed and precision to the process of understanding someone’s financial circumstances.
He explains: “Making use of open banking means we can help the client get this information in a matter of minutes, so they are prepared for their first appointment and can start getting help straight away. We hope this can free up valuable time for agencies to focus on specialist advice.”
Lisa Fretwell, managing director of data services at Experian, adds: “Talking about debt is an awkward conversation for people in financial difficulty, and the stress of rummaging through kitchen drawers to find the right paperwork is just another barrier to them getting help.”
“Using our advanced analytics technology, Money Advice Scotland can remove that hurdle and get accurate, up-to-date insights on the financial position people are in, so they can plot the best route to get them back on track.”
Experian’s Affordability Passport is a web-based technology which allows advisers to offer customers a secure platform to share bank account transaction data.
Money Advice Scotland and Experian’s partnership is part of a pilot project due to run until March 2020 and can be accessed here.