Coronavirus: Fintechs create Covid Credit to help self-employed prove income loss

Financial technology professionals have created a tool that will support self-employed people claiming financial relief from the government during the Covid-19 pandemic

Financial technology (fintech) professionals have created a cloud-based tool using open banking technology to help self-employed people prove their income losses during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

The service will access transaction data from the bank accounts of self-employed people, made possible by open banking regulations, and will be able to prove an individual’s earnings. It collects historic banking data from the last 12 months as evidence of past income and potential loss of income in the future.

Known as Covid Credit, the tool is in development and has not been given the green light by the government.

The concept was created by staff at fintechs including Credit Kudos, 11:FS, Coconut, Capital on Tap and TrueLayer. They are working on a proof of concept to support self-employed people prove their lost income to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The group said in a statement: “In 48 hours, a team from the fintech community got together and built a working proof of concept. It allows a sole trader in the UK to self-certify that they have lost income and prove their previous 12 months of income by connecting to their bank account.”

Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced that the government will pay 80% of the wages, up to £2,500 a month, of those who cannot currently work because of the Covid-19 pandemic – but this was not guaranteed for self-employed workers.

There are millions of self-employed people in the UK who will not be able to work during the pandemic, and there is uncertainty about whether they will be able to claim relief from the government beyond basic sick pay.

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The Covid Credit team said the tool has been made possible by the UK banking system’s open banking regulations. “Recent transaction history provides proof that income has been affected recently and by the crisis,” the group said.

“Whilst the proof of concept is not publicly available, it works, and by creating something that works, the hope is to demonstrate that this service could help the five million self-employed through the Covid-19 crisis.”

The group urged the UK government to collaborate with the fintech community to help the self-employed community.

“We are here and we are able,” it said. “This service is ready to go live, but we are waiting on input and support from the UK government before we do so. Sole traders could use Covid Credit’s proof of concept to generate a self-certification of income loss to send to HMRC.”

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