Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from Revolut, BuildMyCreditScore, Forest IQ, Bridge and The Big Issue.
Revolut adjusts paid plans
Revolut is actioning the first significant overhaul of its paid plans since its launch in 2018 for customers in the UK. Revolut’s new offering hopes to help customers cut back on paying for lots of subscriptions, and centralise them where it’s much better value.
According to Revolut’s data, customers in the UK spend over £17million per month on digital goods. Customers on Revolut plans have a bundled variety of subscriptions ranging from food delivery to fitness (incl. ClassPass, Deliveroo, Freeletics, Headspace, Picsart, Sleep Cycle, Tinder and others) being added to their plan.
Tara Massoudi, general manager of premium products at Revolut, commented: “We always listen to our customers and innovate our products to exceed their expectations. As part of enhancing our paid plans, additional exciting benefits will come to Ultra customers in due course, too.”
£200,000 grant boosts social inclusion
Open banking-powered tool, BuildMyCreditScore, has secured a £200,000 grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to accelerate its offering to enhance financial inclusion and boost access to credit products.
This funding will enable BuildMyCreditScore to more accurately measure affordability and significantly increase applicant acceptance levels – particularly amongst those who may typically be denied access to credit products or incumbent credit building cards.
James Lynn, CEO and co-founder of BuildMyCreditScore, added: “This funding is a significant milestone in our mission to boost social inclusion across the UK and offer an innovative yet simple solution to build credit scores for millions more people.
“Traditionally, people need a strong credit score to access affordable credit in the first place, with those with lower scores forced to turn to more expensive credit options – this model is in desperate need of an overhaul. Innovate UK’s support will enable us to accelerate our growth and broaden our proposition to a much wider group of financially excluded people needing improved access to credit.”
Forest IQ tackling deforestation
Forest IQ, a new data platform for financial institutions, has officially launched: aiming to bring together aligned and actionable data on how more than 2,000 major companies are addressing their links to deforestation.
Forest IQ’s indicators and data are open to all to drive better action and accountability among key companies and financial institutions on deforestation.
Niki Mardas, executive director of Global Canopy, one of the three environmental not-for-profits that co-created Forest IQ, discussed the need for the launch:
“Financial institutions that are still ignoring deforestation in their portfolios are pursuing a dangerous strategy – or perhaps are just asleep at the wheel. There is no pathway to net zero or nature goals without rapid action on deforestation, yet our analysis shows that the great majority of financial institutions are still at the starting line. Improved transparency is leading to growing public pressure, and new regulations in key jurisdictions will make it increasingly costly for those who drag their feet as competitors take action.
Bridge launches to market
Bridge, the fund finance marketplace, has also launched to market. The cloud-based platform enables alternative investment funds to arrange capital call facilities in real-time, saving time and money. Pillar banks, alternative lenders, and reputable alternative investment funds are expected to become early adopters.
Using Bridge’s platform, borrowers and lenders can input their borrowing requests and lending appetites which are matched and placed into a live single-view environment. Borrowers can then manage the bid process on one screen, and all included parties can communicate and refine terms directly to arrange either bilateral or club deals.
Andrew Frazer Smith, founder of Bridge, explained the need for such a solution: “Bridge is the updated marketplace that we have needed for some time. It cuts the time and costs associated with arranging fund finance significantly, whilst providing the data needed to support effective portfolio management. One benefit of that is increased market accessibility. We could see more borrowers and, crucially, more new lenders; perhaps most likely in the form of institutional capital with a variety of appetites.”
Big Issue highlights positive impact
The Big Issue, the UK’s street newspaper and social enterprise, has launched its ‘2022-2023 Impact Report‘, revealing that its social investment arm supported 140 social enterprises across the UK and had £45million Assets Under Management (AUM) as of 31 March 2023.
In turn, these 140 social enterprises were able to support 1.5 million customers across the UK in the same period. Ninety-four per cent of investments made by Big Issue Invest contribute to core solutions to poverty, extending the mission and work of the Big Issue Group.
Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, offered his take on the findings: “Over the past year, the organisations we have been supporting have worked tirelessly to adapt and expand operations to meet the growing need for their work across the most deprived areas of the UK. This work not only improves the lives of people accessing the services, but their families, communities, and society.
“We are exceptionally grateful to all the organisations who chose to work with us during the year. In turn, we are proud to report that 79 per cent of our investees are highly likely to recommend Big Issue Invest to others for investment in order to support people in their local communities. We remain at their service.”