The financial services market is changing. Open Banking, developments in the use of Artificial Intelligence, and the creation of new payment platforms and FinTech applications pose both opportunities and threats for low to middle income households.
Opportunities: to provide more targeted services and products tailored to meet their immediate and longer term needs.
Threats: that vulnerable households will be targeted and exploited, and new forms of ‘soft control’ emerge to direct our behaviours in ways which maximise profit for providers.
This conference – organised jointly with Toynbee Hall’s Financial Health Exchange – will explore the new approaches to regulation and the delivery of support that are needed to ensure that technology is put to work for the benefit of consumers.
The conference will also report the emerging findings from a new CfRC project that has been commissioned by the Local Government Association. This is scoping potential improvements to financial support for low income households, and will suggest possible new approaches to be trialled in 2018/19. We are currently working closely with ten local authorities to explore whether direct financial support for low income households (including Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support and a range of discretionary payments) could be better integrated with debt and budgeting advice and wider financial inclusion initiatives at the local level, and whether this could improve outcomes for statutory service provision.