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Multiple long-term conditions

Investing in technology to act on ill-health

8 October 2021
2 min read

We’re piloting a scheme to explore how Open Banking technology can help address the risk of financial insecurity, which is driving ill-health for people living with long-term health conditions.

Research with people living with long-term conditions in Lambeth and Southwark found that health issues and problems with money exacerbate each other. They often have less (or a more precarious) income which can result in scrimping on food, heating and other day-to-day essentials. This unpredictable financial pressure has a profound effect on their physical and mental wellbeing. 

Within our multiple long-term conditions programme, we’re addressing social factors, such as housing, finances and work, that contribute to some people having less healthy lives than others. This includes trialling improvements to finance industry products and services that can help improve people’s financial resilience.

New technology to tackle long-standing issues

Open banking is a new, secure way for third-party apps to access people’s financial information, to help them compare financial products, make savings or manage their finances better. There are already a range of open banking apps and services that can help people with complex financial needs, but they are currently targeted to and designed for more affluent and digitally savvy consumers.

This year, the Financial Conduct Authority will consider how to regulate open banking – and we want to make sure that policies are developed that allow vulnerable people to access this emerging technology.

Designing services with partner organisations

Through a partnership with third-sector organisations and Comuzi, a design agency, the pilot will work with people with long-term health conditions that might have existing barriers to accessing open banking technology (such as low levels of English literacy) to identify the technology that can support them most effectively.

The organisations we will work with are:

  • Stockwell Partnership, who have more than 20 years of experience in engaging with the local Portuguese-speaking population in their neighbourhood
  • Fair MoneyAdvice, a specialist debt advice Charity
  • Shelter, whose London advice line offers free specialist advice on housing issues across all London boroughs

Following a 100-day trial of a promising Open Banking tool, we will share the findings with organisations in the finance industry, including any opportunities to address inequity of access to financial services and to reduce adverse impacts on people that are already vulnerable to financial insecurity.

If you’d like to talk to us about our work on the relationship between finances and health, please contact Erel Onojobi, who leads this work in our multiple long-term conditions programme. To keep informed with our latest news and insights sign up for our newsletter