The Inclusion FoundationTM (TIF), the Community Interest Company (CIC) uniting the fintech industry to give the UK’s 13m under-served adults better access to financial services, announces its launch today. This comes at a time when the society’s most vulnerable are in the greatest need of vital financial services as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic,
TIF’s proprietary research highlights that 1.23m of the UK’s most vulnerable do not have access to a bank account and such disadvantaged segments of society find it very challenging to pay and get paid. The problem is being further exasperated by the social isolation measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, which is having an unintended consequence for the socially vulnerable who also have less access to cash than ever before.
The Inclusion Foundation provides three core services, including SignpostNowTM, a comparison website enabling underserved customers to compare financial products that suit their individual needs, and The Inclusion SignpostTM, an accreditation recognising financial services products that serve the needs of previously underserved segments. Additionally, the Foundation provides education and a learning programme for payment account providers and the government, The Inclusion Academy. The Academy’s think tank arm is dedicated to keeping the pressure on all key stakeholders while publishing news, research and discussion papers.
A payments account is a key utility; with this access the user can benefit from social mobility enabling them to pay for their rent, purchase goods and services and build a credit rating. Consequently, TIF is dedicated to joining the dots between the fintech industry and the mainstream financial services sector, government bodies and charities to bring awareness of the accredited solutions available and enable more people into the banking system and out of the ‘poverty trap’.
Neil Harris, Chair of The Inclusion Foundation commented; “One in four people experience financial exclusion at least once in their lifetime, which shows that as a society we’re all at risk at some point in our lives of being excluded at our most vulnerable hour. As one of the world’s most progressive, diverse and inclusive nations, we have let the most vulnerable fall through the cracks for far too long, and leading the world in financial innovation and fintech, the UK has every opportunity to ensure that there is financial service provision for every need. That’s why we created The Inclusion Foundation – formed to connect the dots, to unite the industry and to make financial exclusion a thing of the past.”
Mastercard, The Emerging Payments Association, PPS, GPS, SkyParlour and Manifesto Growth back TIF and have been welcomed by the Foundation as the Inclusion Pioneers. As some of the leading companies in the payments and fintech arenas, the pioneers are at the forefront of innovation and developments.
Anne Pieckielon, the CEO of The Inclusion Foundation stated; ‘Lack of a bank account typically costs each individual affected somewhere in the region of £485 per year. It is unforgivable that as an industry we are allowing this to happen. This is why we are tackling exclusion head on, with the support of our pioneers, enabling payment facilities for all.” Anne continued; “We’re always seeking new pioneers to help foster a more financially inclusive society, so please get in touch with us if you or your organisation is interested in becoming a TIF industry pioneer.”
To show support for The Inclusion Foundation’s work and spread the word, the awareness movement #FinancialInclusionMatters has been created and the foundation is looking for organisations and individuals to get behind and engage with the campaign so that it becomes a powerful force for change.
 TIF analysis of data from: FCA – Financial lives of consumers across the UK; Close Brothers – Closing the SME funding gap; Ipsos MORI – Disabled people and financial wellbeing; Lloyds Bank – Consumer Digital Index; HMT and DWPFinancial Inclusion Report
 TIF Research using data from Pockit – Banking on the Poverty Premium and Social Market Foundation – A Switch in Time