10 Dec 2021 | Posted In Money advice news

A partnership between global information services company Experian and TIPTrust, which supplies data and technology to the free debt advice sector, has helped transform the delivery of free debt advice during the pandemic.

By providing faster, more accurate client data to debt advisers, the partnership has enabled those seeking free debt advice to get the personalised support needed to start their journey towards regaining control of their financial situation during the pandemic.

Covid-19 has had a profound financial impact on many of us with research suggesting 40% of people experiencing a pandemic-related income shock. While some can fall back on their savings or access credit to soften the blow, it can be much more damaging for those who can’t and seeking impartial debt advice becomes even more essential.

Through the TIPTrust self-service Debt Adviser Support Portal, more than 800 advisers were able to gain instant access to detailed credit reports from Experian, alongside open banking data and reports from another credit reference agency. This data helps advisers quickly and easily establish a comprehensive view of each client’s indebtedness so they can more effectively guide them towards an appropriate solution, such as a Breathing Space, a Debt Relief Order, or an informal debt management plan.

The partnership also played a huge role in the switch to remote advice delivered from home at a time when lockdown restrictions prevented face-to-face advice.

Ryan Hayes, TIPTrust COO, commented: “We understand the challenges faced by debt advisers and believe in technology, which is designed to enhance, rather than replace what they do, saving them time and money in achieving the best possible client outcomes.  Without Experian on board with a low-cost supply we couldn’t have supported the sharp increase in demand for free credit report data when advice had to be delivered remotely during the pandemic and this partnership will continue to be important in giving advisers easy access to creditor information for those who need it most through whatever means the advice is being delivered.”

A TIPTrust customer survey carried out in the summer highlights many of the positive impacts the Debt Adviser Support Portal has provided to advisers and their clients, including:

  • ‘They have enabled me to deliver advice sessions remotely with ease’ – 87% of advisers reported that TIPTrust had improved the efficiency of their advice provision
  • ‘Client journeys have improved’ –The requirement for clients to recall or obtain creditor information is significantly reduced, which is particularly beneficial to clients with mental health issues. They are reaching a debt solution in less time and are more likely to stay engaged with the advice provider. Processing times for Debt Relief Orders have reduced from weeks to days when credit reports are accessed early in the advice process.
  • ‘The reports have reduced the requirement for additional appointments to collate creditor information’ – 93% of users confirmed that the number of client appointments needed had reduced.
  • ‘The reports have improved the quality of my advice’ – 84% of advisers reported that TIPTrust improved the quality of their advice

Ryan Hayes continued: Debt advice delivery is complex and challenging – clients often have multiple needs and gathering all the information together to provide accurate advice can be an additional strain. We aim to support advisers with technology and data to remove some of these barriers and improve the experience for the adviser and their clients in the process. Credit reports are an important part of this and following our survey, you can see the positive impact but we can do much more.”

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, commented: “We’re delighted that our partnership with TIPTrust has helped advisers provide essential and timely support to people struggling with unaffordable financial commitments, especially given the impact the pandemic has had on the way many services are able to work. We’re all too aware of grave financial impact the pandemic has had on many communities, particularly the vulnerable, and the knock-on effect on people’s mental wellbeing. The debt advice sector provides such a vital lifeline for consumers, and we’re pleased that our work with TIPTrust has helped support the continued availability of free, high quality debt counselling during what has undoubtedly been a very challenging time.”

Find out more at www.tiptrust.co.uk