Peer-to-peer lenders could start using a tool to help spot vulnerable customers.
Members of investing and saving membership body Tisa, which includes P2P lenders such as RateSetter, are being given access to a new Vulnerability Radar tool.
The tool, which was developed with fintech consultancy Altus and has been trialled by financial companies including Quilter and Aviva, assesses responses to questions relating to policy, products, systems, and implementation and provides a score and a spider graph result, as well as identifying areas for improvement.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently consulting on guidance published in July 2019 to ensure consistency of outcomes for vulnerable consumers across the financial services sector.
“Everyone has either been vulnerable, will become vulnerable, or will care for someone vulnerable at some point in their lives,” Stephen Gay, policy manager for Tisa, said.
“This is why ensuring the right protections are in place needs to be a fundamental part of how firms design, develop, and bring to market their products and services.
“Whether it’s paying bills online, navigating statements, or dealing with difficult subjects like debt, there are a myriad of issues that could exclude someone in vulnerable circumstances from accessing essential services.”
“We strongly believe that all customers should be able to use financial services, regardless of any impairment or difficult circumstance.
“Concerns around financial exclusion are rightly set to continue, and vulnerability issues are likely to remain high up the regulatory agenda for some time to come. By developing an easy to use tool, we hope to help firms adapt to regulatory changes, and ultimately create a more supportive environment for UK consumers.”
Jonathan Warren, consultant at Altus, said vulnerable customers are “rightly central to the regulator’s agenda.”
“The underlying content will continue to evolve as best practice emerges and thus will act as a common standard for firms who adopt it and drive the industry toward better and more consistent outcomes for all customers,” he added.