Nationwide funds £3m fintech challenge to drive social change

Nationwide has teamed up with a cohort of fintechs as part of an initiative aiming to use open banking principles to help customers in financial difficulty.

Nationwide aims to help those in financial trouble through the use of open banking.
Nationwide aims to help those in financial trouble through the use of open banking.

The building society has selected seven start-ups to develop apps and services for its Open Banking for Good challenge in an effort to improve the financial capabilities of those in need.

This comes on the back of open banking regulations introduced last year, which seek to give customers better control over their money and enable them to secure better deals by sharing financial data with relevant authorised parties.

Nationwide, which has had a major Dunfermline base since rescuing Dunfermline Building Society in the wake of the financial crisis, is supporting the scheme with a £3 million fund.

Its fintech partners are tasked with using open banking to simplify the process of creating customer income and expenditure profiles, helping customers to better manage fluctuations in income, and designing management tools to help prevent financial difficulties.

The fintechs comprise artificial intelligence start-ups Openwrks and; fluctuating income management tools Trezeo and Flow; and expenditure apps Toucan, Squad and Tully.

The selected start-ups, chosen from more than 50 applicants, will also receive expert support from Nationwide and a host of other organisations, such as Money Advice Trust, Citizens Advice, The Money Charity, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, and Accenture.

The challenge consists of an initial three-month spell to gain insights and generate ideas, followed by a six-month “accelerator” phase to develop these into scalable and sustainable concepts.

This includes a three-month lab run with Accenture to support ideas testing and the chance to scaling the tools across Nationwide’s membership and into wider society.

Nationwide chief executive Joe Garner said: “The programme will see us partner with some of the UK’s smartest fintechs, debt charities and academics to use this revolutionary new technology to support people facing financial challenges.

“Our seven chosen fintech applicants will have access to vital insights, funding, and data to help them really make a difference.

“This is a great example of working across businesses, charities and government to make a positive difference in society.”