In the UK alone, 5.8 million people are virtually indiscernible to the mainstream financial system, because there is little or no information available on their financial track record. As a result, this group can find themselves excluded from mainstream finance that most people take for granted.
Without access to affordable and relevant financial products this group, known as ‘The Invisibles’, have less choice and are forced to pay more – a “poverty premium”.
The social arguments for enhanced financial inclusion are undisputed, and meeting the needs of a larger proportion of the population allows financial services providers to fulfil their responsibilities to regulators. But there are also clear business benefits.
This talk by Jonathan Westley would cover the problems the invisible population faces, but also the potential solution found in data. Additional source of data can also be particularly helpful for building out the financial records of the ‘credit invisible’ population — people with little or no viable financial information to draw upon — helping them to access both mainstream finance and crucial public services online.
New data sources have been added to the credit bureau in recent years, causing a tangible reduction in the thin-file population - dropping by 750,000 people to 3.86 million thanks to data from social housing tenants in the Rental Exchange and more utilities data.
By encouraging the remaining utilities companies to share data, and using council tax and Open Banking data, we can reduce the thin file population by 1.5 million people.