Experian is piloting a new solution that aims to help disabled people get easier access to essential services like banking and utilities.
It is estimated that 25 million* consumers in the UK have a disability or support need that makes it harder to interact with organisations. Having to repeatedly tell multiple organisations of their support needs can cause frustration, emotional and physical exhaustion, wasted time, and in some cases, financial detriment.
The Support Hub pilot offers a single one-stop portal for consumers to tell multiple businesses how they need to be contacted and what support they need to access their service. This could include preferred method of communication such as letter, telephone, or email, or other requirements such as needing a longer appointment, or being accompanied by another adult to assist them.
Crucially, it does not require consumers to disclose their disability - only the support they require from the organisations they use. Users have complete control over which organisations they share with, and what needs they share, and can remove their permission at any time.
It is the culmination of three years’ work and collaboration between Experian, disability and accessibility experts Chris Fitch and Dan Holloway, and a network of founder members of major financial services firms and charities.
Jose Luiz Rossi, Managing Director, Experian UK&I, said: “By involving vulnerability experts and consumers from the very start of the development process, we’ve been able to truly engage with accessibility issues faced by disabled people and those with additional support needs.
“Those issues can be frustrating and overwhelming. Support Hub solves a genuine consumer problem and will be offered across a range of sectors, empowering consumers to get on with their lives, and supporting businesses to help better identify their customers who need additional support and develop appropriate services for them.”
Experian believes the solution will help businesses in meeting new regulations. From July, the Financial Conduct Authority’s Consumer Duty will introduce new obligations on firms, compelling them to provide better communication methods and better identify vulnerable customers, so they can put in place appropriate support.
It will enable firms to meet this challenge, identifying at scale which consumers require further support, and then, by acting upon that information, improve and develop their processes which will drive better outcomes for vulnerable customers.
The development of the initial pilot has been funded by the Experian Social Innovation Fund which aims to build products that will have a positive impact on the financial health of consumers around the world, and solve any pain points they face in managing their everyday lives.