HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Others Launch Support Hub to Share Access Needs with Multiple Organizations

Founding members including HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Tesco Bank, NewDay, Co-operative Bank and Ovo have come together to launch Support Hub, a free platform powered by Experian that “shares access needs with multiple organisations in one go.”

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of disabled people “have delayed contacting an essential service provider because it seemed too daunting to them, meaning they could be missing out on much-needed support and important information.”

Experian‘s research reveals “that disabled people, on average, wait more than two months – 82 days – before contacting a provider.”

They have reportedly “cited feeling emotionally drained (37%), anxious (34%) and demoralised (27%) after interactions with organizations.”

The delay is having a detrimental impact “on people’s lives, with most disabled people surveyed (52%) saying they would have spent the time resting or sleeping without anxiety if they could get the time back.”

Despite this less than a fifth (19%) of people “with access needs have requested support from service providers.”

Exploring behavior around financial services more broadly, people “with access requirements are also less likely to switch service providers across multiple sectors – from credit cards to savings accounts, energy suppliers, and TV subscriptions.”

For instance, only 28% have “swapped credit cards, compared to 36% for those people without any access needs.” Almost one third (28%) of disabled people “polled said their finances had been negatively impacted by not being able to easily contact essential services.”

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found “that an estimated 7.4 million people have unsuccessfully attempted to contact one or more of their service providers, with the most vulnerable in society most likely to struggle.”

To help, Experian has launched Support Hub “in collaboration with some of the country’s largest companies including HSBC UK, Nationwide Building Society, Tesco Bank, consumer credit provider NewDay, Co-operative Bank and Ovo.”

It is the culmination of more than three years’ work “between Experian, the founding partners and accessibility experts.”

Support Hub pilot offers “a single one-stop portal for consumers to tell multiple businesses how they need to be contacted and what support they need to access their service.”

This could include preferred method of communication “such as letter, telephone, or email, or other requirements such as needing a longer appointment, or being accompanied by another adult to assist them.”

Crucially, it does “not require consumers to disclose their disability – only the support they require from the organizations they use.”

Users have complete control over which organizations they “share with, and what needs they share, and can remove their permission at any time.”

When surveyed about the solution, 60% said they “would like to use a service that informs multiple suppliers about their needs.”

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