Experian recently announced plans to pilot a new service that could help millions of financially excluded people “get better access to mainstream financial services.”
Experian’s initiative aims “to help people with little or no credit history – the so-called ‘credit invisibles’ – build out their credit files in as little as three months, for free.”
It will be “piloted with selected providers this summer, with plans to launch the full service through Experian Marketplace in the future.”
Experian’s latest analysis “revealed there are between 4-5 million credit invisibles in the UK today, many from low-income households.” However, it’s not “just those on the poorest incomes that are affected by this issue.”
Other credit invisible groups include:
- Recent immigrants (or some returning expats) may have little or no credit footprint, and therefore struggle to open bank accounts.
- ‘New-to-credit’ groups, primarily young people who have not yet established a credit record.
- Older people who have either paid off their mortgage and have limited use for credit or who have not previously relied on credit and, therefore, have no file.
- These people find it difficult to access mainstream financial services. Some may pay a ‘poverty premium’* to do so. The deficit of relevant financial information can also present problems for people trying to access crucial public services, owing to difficulties verifying their age and identity with services using online Know Your Customer (KYC) solutions.
New to credit consumers will be “able to confirm their identity and build their credit files using just three months of transactional data, provided via open banking, taken directly from their bank account.”
Consumers will also be “able to build their files by signing up with selected credit providers, enabling them to generate a score in as little as three months.”
Around the world, Experian is “focused on increasing access to financial services, improving financial literacy and building consumer confidence so that people can take control of their financial health.”
The new concept is “part of Experian’s Social Innovation Program, which aims to build and recognize products that will have a positive impact on the financial health of consumers around the world.”
Between 2013 and April 2021 Experian has “invested over US$8m across 29 product ideas. Eighteen of those products have launched, reaching 61 million people, many of whom are from financially vulnerable backgrounds.”
Yaro Zozulya, Innovation Director, Experian UK&I, said:
“Our new service aims to help those who been unable to access mainstream finance to build their credit file in a simple, straightforward way. The trial period will allow us to test the customer journey and validate the approach so that we can then launch to a wider audience.”
The announcement of the new pilot “has been released as part of Credit Awareness Week 2023 – which aims to encourage more people to engage with their credit history and personal finances.”
This year’s event is “especially important as people continue to be financially strained due to high inflation and the cost of living.”