20 Jul 2017 | Posted In Money advice news

MALG’s Executive Officer Bob Winnington attended the launch of Money and Mental Health Policy Institute’s ‘Fintech for Good’ report at Monzo Bank on 18 July 2017.

The report looks at how financial technology can support people experiencing mental health problems, who are three times as likely to be in financial difficulty.

Fintech – new tools, settings and processes made possible by technological innovation in financial services – offer the opportunity to break this cycle, by supporting financial management during periods of poor mental health, reducing stress and worry, and lowering the incidence of financial difficulty. However, as the report states; “there’s no guarantee that fintech will develop in a direction that supports mental health. Without careful consideration it could be discriminatory, disempowering, stigmatising or reinforce the digital divide. These risks are real, but should not prevent progress. Instead, they should frame our thinking, guiding us to develop tools and processes which are fair, safe and level the playing field.”

The report identifies four principles for developing fintech for mental health

  1. Personalisation: Tools should be optional and provide consumers with the ability to personalise their financial services to suit their needs.
  2. No discrimination: Customers who choose to use this additional support should be viewed as being financially responsible. Use of fintech for mental health should not be used to discriminate against consumers.
  3. Empowerment: These solutions should offer protection to those who need it, but should not undermine their autonomy. Ultimately, they should be about enabling people to better manage their own money, rather than taking away this freedom.
  4. Consumer voice: Every solution offered by the financial services industry must be based on the experiences of people with mental health problems, and ideally co-produced with them, to ensure they cater for diverse needs and avoid stigmatisation.

The report identifies money management, high-control products and self exclusion, checking understanding online, support from friends and family, and spotting the problem early as the five ways fintech can help those experiencing mental health issues, and recommends that financial services providers:

  1. Invest in the adaptations needed
  2. Update regulatory guidance on mental capacity
  3. Normalise shared control
  4. Develop a detailed understanding

The MALG Conference 2017 will feature an interactive fintech exhibition where the latest tools and techniques will be demonstrated and critiqued.