A brand new financial wellbeing app for borrowing, ilumoni, has announced it is now available through a private beta, following FCA authorisation in January of this year.
In a first for borrower wellbeing, the free to use, AI-driven app, helps its users to understand and manage their borrowing. It brings together financial information from credit reports, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and bank accounts to give users full visibility of what they owe.
ilumoni provides users with rich insights into how they borrow and repay, including how long it will take to repay their borrowing and how much their borrowing will cost in interest. It then helps people to identify how they can improve their borrowing, showing them the benefits of making changes to repayments as well as alternative borrowing options, all based on what the user can afford and products they are eligible for. This insight encourages users to stay on track to reach goals such as reducing the amount of interest paid, paying balances off faster or reducing payments to free up cash in the best way.
The business has a mission to raise awareness to borrow well. Putting a user’s financial and borrowing information with actionable insights in their own hands, it supports financial literacy, education and wellbeing. ilumoni is independent of any lender and is not a lender itself, something that was important to the team right from the outset.
Gary Wigglesworth, CEO at ilumoni explains, “We founded ilumoni because we could see that while it is often easy to borrow, it’s harder to borrow well. There is very limited independent support for consumers in making the right decisions about their borrowing, unless they are in difficulties. While there are products for money management and price comparison sites, nothing exists to make sense of what borrowing means for an individual without an agenda and on an ongoing basis. We decided it was time this changed.”
This could not have come at a more important time. A recent study by the FCA found that just before the pandemic, over half of all UK adults were carrying balances that attract interest on consumer credit products and almost 3 in 5 people are either overwhelmed or overconfident in their financial numeracy.
Since the pandemic, almost 40% have seen their financial position worsen, where just 14% have seen an improvement, with almost 1 in 4 having increased their unsecured debt and 19% expecting to borrow more in the short term. Upwards of 25% of credit card holders are only paying the minimum repayment on their borrowing, which would take on average around 25 years to clear. What’s more, over a third of people worry about money every day and a recent report revealed that over 50% of people would rather go without essential spending, such as for food or heating, than talk about their debt.
Wigglesworth goes on to say, “Over 50% of people now use money management apps with the rate of take up accelerated by the pandemic. Since we began building ilumoni, the need to support borrowers has become more necessary than ever. While some have been able to pay down debt, many more are now relying on borrowing to make ends meet. Being able to manage this in the best way will be critical to both their financial and mental wellbeing.”
The app has been in development for well over a year, with ilumoni having already raised £455,000 from Founders and Angels, including, Move Ventures (formed by the founders of Market Gravity, acquired by Deloitte in 2017), former CEO of Dunbar Bank (Zurich), Andy Deller, and Simon Moran, former CMO and now Non-Executive Director, Premium Credit, to fund development and regulation. A further EIS qualifying Angel fundraising round is due to close in the coming weeks, with over 1/3 of the funds already committed, to take the product to market and beyond. General App and Play Store release is planned for later in the year.