Equifax, one of the UK’s big three credit reference agencies, is today unveiling a new partnership with fintech Paylink Solutions to automate its digital affordability solution using Open Banking data and APIs.
Paylink Solutions delivers technology across the financial services and utilities sectors. Its digital affordability application is used by some of the UK’s most well-known banks and building societies and assist thousands of customers every day.
Equifax’s market-leading Open Banking service will enhance Paylink Solutions’ existing affordability solution. It will allow businesses to understand customers’ affordability quickly and accurately to not only provide them with a suitable repayment solution, but also refer them for free debt advice if required. Plus, for lenders, this will ensure they are lending responsibly and protecting vulnerable customers from taking out unaffordable credit.
Equifax estimates the percentage of financially vulnerable people in the UK has almost doubled from 2.7% to 4.4% since 2020. During the pandemic, there was also a significant increase in the number of people setting up online accounts, with around 15% more people accessing Open Banking on their mobile device.
Andy Sacre, Product Director, Equifax UK, said: “After two years of severe disruption to our social and professional lives, 2022 is fast becoming a year we will remember for the extreme financial challenges faced by families up and down the country. At a time like this, Open Banking is coming into its own, helping credit providers, utility companies and telcos to gain a nuanced understanding of how much struggling customers really can afford to repay.
“Over the past four years, Equifax has built and refined a range of sophisticated Open Banking services, and now has the perfect balance between plug and play and mass market products for anyone seeking a new Open Banking partner. This partnership with Paylink Solutions is a perfect example of onboarding a new tech solution at speed, and will ultimately mean more people facing financial hardship in the UK will be receiving support that is tailored to their personal situation.”
Susan Rann, CEO of Paylink Solutions, said: “Few of us have escaped the economic impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the pandemic, but it’s those closer to the breadline that are at particular risk of struggling to meet their financial commitments. For those in this situation, facing up to failure takes a huge amount of courage, so it’s important we make it as simple and seamless as possible for people to get the support they need.
“Meeting with Equifax, it was immediately clear it had the right mix of technology and insight to solve the problem our clients’ customers are facing. People want to be able to share information safely and discretely and often that means doing so online. This also helps to save agent time sourcing information manually, and improves accuracy when determining consumers’ income, expenditure and ultimately what they can afford to repay.”