The current climate has made our sense of community stronger than ever, and the challenges thrown up by Covid-19 have highlighted the role of FinTech for good.
We’ve seen several examples in our community of companies building and developing solutions to offer genuine support to communities hit hard by Covid-19, from enabling charitable donations to helping people pay for goods and services remotely. Now, many are looking beyond the crisis and giving back to communities in a sustainable way.
Alastair Lukies, CEO of Pollinate, recognises that small businesses will often be hardest hit by the crisis, and says FinTech is well placed to support them. “At Pollinate we understand that SMEs are not only the backbone of the UK economy but also play a crucial role in the communities in which they operate,” he comments.
“Covid-19 has shone a light on just how important that role is, as we have watched businesses pivot overnight, transforming their services to meet the new needs of the community in lockdown. We have worked quickly to design and build solutions that support SMEs during this new normal, recognising the need for online ordering and prepayment solutions.”
This has served to highlight the vital role technology plays in levelling the playing field to achieve financial inclusion. “Online payments have enabled people to safely order food and essential to be delivered to their homes, and have provided a route to market for SMEs up and down the country who would have collapsed without the ability to move to remote digital payments,” Lukies adds. “Our priority at Pollinate has always been to help banks deliver the tools that enable these SMEs to survive, and ultimately thrive, whatever the challenges.”
Money management platform Moneyhub has taken on board the challenges its customers face in order to fully support them. “As the economy rapidly changes and people’s personal finances are being significantly impacted, it’s never been more important for people to take control of their money,” says Samantha Seaton, CEO of Moneyhub. “FinTechs can play a central role in making this happen.”
Moneyhub has made its Open Finance platform available for free for six months, with the hope of helping more people navigate changes and make more proactive, impactful decisions. Through Moneyhub, users can set up alerts and budgets, sweep money between accounts, and keep track of their spending, saving and investments all on one platform.
“FinTechs can also work with more traditional companies to enable them to transform their own processes at speed, in a cost-effective way,” adds Seaton. “This ultimately means consumers can receive products like mortgages and insurance quickly and at the fraction of the traditional cost.
“The UK has a thriving FinTech sector willed with many incredibly talented individuals working t o solve the problems we are faced with now and in the future – it is our job to rise to the occasion and create innovative solutions to support our users – either directly or through our B2B partners.”
This week, Contis announced another example of taking on board feedback, recognising challenges, and getting the solutions to market, when it introduced Contis Care – a new programme bringing long-term solutions for the most vulnerable in society.
“FinTechs are very well placed to five back to the community because we sit precisely where innovation meets finance,” comments Andy Patton, Chief Commercial Officer at Contis. “Secure digital banking, cashless payments and access to funds are more important than ever as people struggle in these unprecedented times.”
Contis has committed a lot of development resources to Contis Care in order to bring long-term solutions for vulnerable people that will still support them after Covid-19. “Our first solution, Carer Banking, helps banks, building societies and financial institutions support anyone who continues to shield and can’t shop for themselves,” says Patton. “It lets nominated carers buy essentials while eliminating the risks of sharing cards, PINs or bank details.
“Over the coming months, we’ll announce many additional, essential innovations,” he adds. “Every FinTech should explore their strengths and focus on or divert their efforts to making a difference right now.”