StepChange Debt Charity has announced that it is entering into an exciting new partnership with fintech innovator OpenWrks to bring the opportunities offered by Open Banking into its services.

StepChange’s new Money Coaching tool, which will be made available to clients accessing support with their persistent credit card debt, will utilise OpenWrks’ sector-leading Open Banking technology to better support clients. The move will help deliver key elements of the charity’s strategic vision to double the number of people it helps over the next few years. The success of this strategy focuses on helping more people, helping them earlier, and helping them better by harnessing new technology.

The Money Coaching tool will enable clients to analyse their real-time spending in detail, use Open Banking to get a full picture of their outgoings, and to set long-term savings goals and challenges to help them improve their financial situation. Initially, support will focus on clients who enter the charity’s new and unique online persistent debt service.

Research undertaken by StepChange last year suggested that many clients seeking debt advice are receptive to Open Banking principles to help them identify their income and expenditure in an easier way that they can recognise. However, StepChange will always allow clients to choose whether they use Open Banking and how they access the charity’s services.

StepChange Debt Charity CEO Phil Andrew said “It is hugely exciting to be able to leverage new technology innovation to deliver meaningful new services to our clients. We know from our research that getting help and support as early as possible can help to prevent a debt crisis for some people. Providing tools that enable consumers to understand their finances and, where possible, make small changes, could potentially reduce the number of people reaching crisis point in the future.”

“This first step in utilising Open Banking data will enable the charity to explore further uses across our services. The overall aim is to further support the many people in the UK who need our help, in an increasing variety of ways that suit their needs. Every bit of efficiency we create means increased opportunity for people worried about money to get the help they need, and increased value for those who fund us.”

OpenWrks Group CEO, Stuart Bungay said “The Personal Finance Management market is crowded with tools that show people what and where they are spending but few of these tools actually help people change their underlying spending behaviour to help improve financial resilience.”

“In our Money Coaching application, we encourage people to set long-term financial goals – be it for a house deposit, a holiday or debt repayments. Then, Money Coaching uses behavioural psychology and personalised savings challenges, identified by Open Banking insight, to help people make savings on everyday spending and fundamentally change the way they manage money. With progress notifications and tailored educational content, Money Coaching drives long-term change in how people think about, manage and make use of their money. Over time this empowers people to save more to put towards their credit card repayments or to build a savings buffer for unexpected financial shocks.”