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NatWest uses Embark to help customers in financial hardship

NatWest has launched a new service, which has been built in partnership with Paylink Solutions, to help reduce the stress and simplify the process that customers who are in financial hardship face when they try to put their finances back in order.

The new online tool will help to significantly cut the time spent populating an income and expenditure form by automating the process through open banking. Previously, customers were required to complete a lengthy, complex document and manually input hundreds of pieces of information.  Automating the process cuts the time it takes from well over 25 minutes to around 5 minutes, whilst also improving accuracy.

Once the online form is complete, customers can verify any information that has been manually input into the system, which can automatically detect and highlight  any unusual spending patterns, for example a mis-keyed phone bill or a misplaced decimal place. NatWest customers are then given the option to speak to a specialist team member over the phone to work out appropriate next steps, such as a repayment plan or referrals to debt and counselling charities. NatWest hopes the new system will encourage more customers to take control of their debt as previously customers reported they were daunted by the long and complex process.

Dave Lowe, Chief Administrative Officer for Personal Banking at NatWest, said: “For any customer in financial hardship, gaining a full understanding of their debts is the first step that needs to be taken to ensure they get the help they need. We’re using open banking technology to take the time, effort and stress out of helping customers take this vital first step so that we can focus on finding a long term solution for their financial problems.”

Susan Rann, CEO of Paylink Solutions, said: “We’re delighted the new online tool is now being used by NatWest customers and are really proud of being able to help those who often feel too ashamed or embarrassed to seek debt advice. We developed NatWest’s solution so customers can access advice 24/7 in a quick and convenient way. This is the start of a great new partnership which will benefit NatWest and its customers through the use of new technology.”