Debt Free London, Paylink Solutions and PayPlan look to the future of debt advice with a ‘seamless’ service

26th October 2021.

It was full steam ahead at Debt Free London’s recent conference (21 October), where its vision for the future of debt advice was announced, and how the technology we’re providing is helping more and more people in need get effective debt support as we navigate out of the pandemic.

Figures show that over a million Londoners – who face the highest living and housing costs in the UK – were furloughed as a result of the pandemic, with more than 1 in 5 people running out of money before the end of the month – this is up by 4.2 million people in just a year.

It’s evident from Debt Free London’s findings that the pandemic has caused an ever-increasing need for support, especially now the Furlough scheme has come to an end.

Led by Matt Dronfield, Head of Debt Free London, the conference brought together advisers, debt advice agencies and partners to discuss how they plan to ensure people, particularly underrepresented groups, can access the support they need – through numerous contact channels.

Debt Free London is a unique partnership of charities led by Toynbee Hall and funded by the Money and Pensions Service, that provides free, expert advice to Londoners with problem debt.

An important part of the future vision is to address issues of accessibility and ensure Debt Free London’s debt advice services reach and support the people who need them – and face-to-face advice will still play a key role in this.

Debt Free London is introducing video kiosks in GP surgeries, libraries and schools (located in private areas and advertised as ‘general service kiosks’), as well as open surgeries and drop-in hours – which are also available in the evenings and at weekends. 

The next generation of our Embark software will be used to assist Debt Free London in providing a high-quality debt advice service, increasing visibility and enhancing accessibility, with a focus on ensuring vulnerabilities are identified and the relevant support also provided.

PayPlan and Paylink Solutions’ Head of Brand, Catherine Varney, was involved in a panel discussion at the event about how technology can transform the future of debt advice.

Oliver Cox, Product Owner at Paylink Solutions, also spoke at the conference about how we’re working with Debt Free London to achieve that vision: “Our software collects customers’ income, outgoings and debts digitally and includes features, such as credit reference integration, KYC technology and Open Banking. This considerably speeds up the process and increases data accuracy, making it much easier for the agent or customer (if they’re completing it by themselves). Our roadmap for future changes will include programmatic debt advice, to guide the agent or customer to reach the best outcome, including eligible debt solutions.

“There will also be improved language and translation capabilities, and other features such as income maximisation and benefits check tools to provide more holistic support.”

Read Debt Free London’s full “A Year of Responding to Change” report here.

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