How the digitally excluded can still benefit from ‘debt-tech’ tools

Lou Yates, CEO, Trustfolio
07 April 2022

Digital exclusion and financial hardship often go hand-in-hand. This results in understandable cynicism about the benefits of fintech solutions for the most vulnerable. When it comes to personal finance fintech, we hear a lot about consumer-led apps. But budgeting tools are only of use if you aren’t in a deficit budget and can access a device on which to use them. And these tools often have a commercial purpose behind them which isn’t necessarily in the interests of the vulnerable consumer. We get it.

However, that doesn’t mean that digitally excluded consumers-in-debt can’t benefit from practitioners utilising the latest technology to enable better, faster, more fit-for-purpose debt solutions. The commercial benefits of time/cost savings can go hand-in-hand with a social purpose to ultimately do the right thing by the consumer-in-debt.

At Trustfolio, we are on a mission to deliver digital tools for creditors, insolvency practitioners, debt advisers, regulators, and others involved in debt solutions to empower them to get the right outcome more efficiently and effectively.

Our Debt Adviser Support Portal, for example, is designed to enhance rather than replace the human interaction between the adviser and the client by removing the administrative burden for both parties. It’s user-friendly, online-anywhere interface means that it doesn’t require huge amounts of technical expertise on the part of the adviser and can be accessed by the adviser on behalf of the client even if the client is otherwise digitally excluded. The portal is currently being developed from its original purpose of instant access to credit reports to include taking advantage of the latest innovations in Open Banking and IVA referrals. Low take-up and consumer wariness around things like Open Banking can be addressed by a more collaborative approach involving a trusted third party, in this case the debt adviser.

Likewise, our Creditor Debt Solutions Platform and Debt Solutions Provider Portal allow all parties involved in the process to quickly make informed, auditable, compliant, responsible decisions for the ultimate benefit of the customer, utilising all the data available to get a fuller picture of their circumstances without the need for their digital input.

When we think of the latest technology not in terms of jargon and trends (like the importance of the immutability of our API-driven blockchain!) we are at risk of confusing and disengaging people from what really matters. All digital tools should provide a simple solution to an age-old problem. Our team’s combined years of experience across the whole of the debt landscape means we have first-hand knowledge of the processes and systems that can hold back a clear path to the right debt solution for the individual. Personal finance apps are great and have their uses but harnessing new technologies to actually improve the whole process from start to finish takes the onus off consumers themselves who, let’s face it, have enough on their plate now more than ever!