Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from Equifax, Fairer Finance, Rimm Sustainability and ALPHERA Financial Services.
SMEs adopt fintech solutions to hit sustainability targets
New data from Rimm Sustainability has revealed that 77 per cent of UK SMEs are using technology, as well as a sustainability platform, to facilitate their goals.
It also found that the most common driver for firms to adopt sustainability platforms is to receive guidance around sustainability regulations and requirements (34 per cent). This is closely followed by advice on taking action to improve (33 per cent), education on sustainability (33 per cent), to achieve net zero goals (32 per cent), data collection (32 per cent) and analysis and reporting (30 per cent).
Ravi Chidambaram, CEO of Rimm Sustainability says: “In today’s business landscape, we know that transparency is paramount to build the trust of consumers, and so it’s fantastic to see that an overwhelming majority of SMEs in the UK are adopting sustainability tools and are using them to communicate their progress to stakeholders and to ensure they are compliant with regulations that are constantly evolving.”
John Lewis expands payment plan options
Retail giant John Lewis has introduced a range of new payment plans, to enable its customers to spread the cost of purchases over a longer period.
Shoppers can now opt to pay with an interest-bearing credit plan on eligible items in all John Lewis stores. The new interest-bearing credit payment plan is available on purchases over £200 in the Electricals, Home, and Nursery categories to help customers buy what they need, when they need it, in a way that helps them manage their finances.
Andy Piggott, director of credit and banking at John Lewis Financial, explained: “We’re seeing more of our customers choosing our Interest-Free Credit payment plan.
“For those who want lower payments over a longer period of time, the introduction of interest-bearing credit offers customers more choice – helping them find the right plan to suit their circumstances.”
A quarter of Brits repeatedly receive incorrect utility bills
Around 25 per cent of people report receiving more than 10 incorrect utility bills when moving home; with damaging impacts on the industry as one in five customers will consider leaving their utility provider if they are billed incorrectly.
A new study, conducted by credit reference agency, Equifax, found that 27 per cent of customers making the switch felt that suppliers who chased for or sent incorrect bills, were incompetent with their data, while 17 per cent were ignored when they tried to inform their supplier of an issue with their bill.
Craig Tebbutt, chief strategy and innovation officer at Equifax UK, commented: “We can see from our research that the issue of misplaced debt is not only causing financial issues for suppliers but also an undue amount of stress for customers. Occupier identification is a very real issue when it comes to misplaced debt and potentially damaged credit.”
Challenger banks trusted more than high-street competitors
Challenger banks, notably Monzo and Starling, emerged as the most trusted by consumers, compared to traditional banks, in the new Trust in Banking Index by Fairer Finance, the consumer group and ratings provider.
Starling and Monzo have close to 60 per cent of customers strongly agreeing that they trust them. HSBC, TSB and RBS – all more established high street banks – only have around 30 per cent of customers giving this response.
James Daley, managing director at Fairer Finance, explained: “Trust in the banking sector has been on a slow road to recovery over the last 15 years.
“Mis-selling scandals and the credit crunch drove trust in the sector to all-time lows in the early part of the millennium. But better regulation and a more competitive sector has seen a steady improvement in recent years.”
UK consumers worry about affording financed vehicles
Around half of UK consumers who have financed a vehicle purchase within the past 12 months are now concerned about the affordability of their monthly payments, according to a new nationwide survey by ALPHERA Financial Services.
Around 10 per cent revealed they are ‘very concerned’ about whether they can afford the payments under their current vehicle finance agreement, while 40 per cent were at least ‘somewhat concerned’.
Kirk Franks, head of national sales at ALPHERA Financial Services, said: “These findings suggest that the cost-of-living crisis is still being keenly felt by many car buyers, with inflation, rising interest rates and higher fuel costs impacting affordability.
“The survey also highlights the importance of dealers ensuring, fair value and transparency – which our partners have been doing in line with new Consumer Duty.”