Nationwide Building Society challenges seven fintechs to develop apps for financially vulnerable

Seven fintechs are taking part in a challenge set Nationwide and will share a £3m fund as well as the knowledge and experience of experts from the building society and beyond.

The Nationwide’s Open Banking for Good challenge wants apps developed that can help people that are “financially squeezed.” It will be supported through mentoring form organisations including: Accenture, Citizens Advice,  Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, The Money Charity, Doteveryone and Nesta.

The seven fintechs involved have been put into three categories. These are Income and Expenditure, Income Smoothing, and Money Management and Help.

Joe Garner, CEO at Nationwide, said Open Banking for Good is driven by our social purpose. “The programme will see us partner with some of the UK’s smartest fintechs, debt charities and academics to use this revolutionary new technology to support people facing financial challenges. Our seven chosen fintech applicants will have access to vital insights, funding, and data to help them really make a difference. This is a great example of working across businesses, charities and government to make a positive difference in society.”

Meet the fintechs

In the Income and Expenditure category are Openwrks, which uses conversational artificial intelligence (AI) and reductive logic to allow people to create accurate and realistic income and expenditure statements online in minutes; and, which uses AI to categories open banking data.

In the Income Smoothing section the participants are Trezeo, which uses open banking data to enable self employed people to prove their regular income so they can qualify for financial products like mortgages, and Flow, which provides information to billers so they take money form people at the best time.

The Money Management and Help segment has three fintechs. Toucan a money and mental health app that encourages people to become more aware of spending and alerts trusted support if problems occur, Squad which allows people to set financial goals amongst friends and with support from one another other to achieve them, and Tully which offers financial advice, debt support and a data led, personalised money coaching service to people worried about finances.

Jeremy Wright Secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “By supporting fintechs that are focused on making a positive impact on society, Nationwide’s challenge is giving our tech firms the support they need to innovate. Technology can make real differences to people’s lives across many areas and this is a fantastic example of how to harness tech for a social good.”

This type of challenge is a good way of getting fintechs off the ground through funding and mentoring while solving a  societal problem.

For example a challenge set up by the government in 2017, known as the Rent Recognition Challenge offered entrepreneurs £2m if they can come up a system that will enable millions of renters to record and share data about what they have paid in rent. A company known as CreditLadder, which I interviewed last year, was the biggest winner receiving £600,000. It is currently expanding its business.

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