When ClearScore launched in July 2015, we set out with one mission: to make the complex world of personal finance clear, calm and easier to understand. We started by providing free credit scores to people in the UK, and have since grown to 9 million users, with a further 2 million in South Africa and Australia.
Providing users with a free credit score was very much a market first in the UK. Until then, accessing credit scores was a paid-for service, with consumers having to part with up to £15 a month for the privilege of accessing their own credit report data upon which important lending decisions - such as whether you can get a mortgage or a credit card - are made. This meant that many consumers were forced to take out credit without having a full picture of their finances and potentially facing rejection. We saw this system as unfair, and sought to change it to empower people to make the right financial decision for their circumstances.
We started by providing credit scores and reports for free, and have continued to create a suite of beautifully-designed free tools that can help guide users to greater financial wellbeing.
All of these tools demonstrate the innovation that is at the heart of the ClearScore product and are the reason why we submitted ClearScore for the Queens Award for Innovation:
iOS and Android apps
We quickly learned that people wanted to take ClearScore with them wherever they go, so we developed the ClearScore iOS and Android pps. Now, over 4.8 million people around the world can manage their finances on the move.
All credit product offers on ClearScore - whether cards, mortgages or loans - are tailored to the individual’s unique circumstances. We do this by performing an in-depth analysis of the individual’s credit report data and surfacing the deals that we think could be right for them. We then show a person’s percentage eligibility of being able to take out a product to avoid the risk of rejection, giving the consumer greater confidence in the financial decisions that they make.
ClearScore’s Coaching plans are a free, interactive way to help users improve their finances. From buying a car or home to reducing debt, the aim of each plan is to help people achieve their goals in just 10 minutes.
The user is then given a personalised to-do list based on the conversation that they have had with our chatbot, with bite-size actions to track progress towards their goal. The tasks aren’t long or complicated, but offer guidance when the individual may not know how to achieve their financial goals.
ClearScore Protect provides users with a free dark web monitoring service. The service checks the unregulated parts of the internet (sometimes referred to as the “Dark Web”) for any details such as passwords associated with a user’s ClearScore email address.
The dark web scan is done in partnership with a team of cyber security experts who search these parts of the internet and then aggregate these data and make them searchable. ClearScore then scans this secure database to surface any breaches. If any details are found, we alert the user and provide information on what to do and how to better protect their information.
How we’ve fared and adapted under COVID
COVID has been a challenging time for so many people and their finances. According to our research, 37% of the UK population are worse off than they were before lockdown began and the pandemic has had a negative impact on their finances. Therefore, as a service that allows people access to their credit report and score for free, as well as providing access to tools that can help support with financial decision-making, ClearScore has been indispensable to many millions of people around the world. Indeed in June 2020 alone, our innovations helped 3.1 million people with their finances.
Within a couple of weeks, we had our COVID hub up and running - a source of all the information that a person could possibly need at a time when there is so much misinformation and confusing jargon on the internet. From updates on credit card payment freezes and mortgage holidays to understanding redundancy rights, we designed this hub to help people stay on top of their finances during such an uncertain time.
We also launched our Credit for Key Workers initiative. Since the 15th March, credit has been withdrawn from the market, but many key workers still require urgent access to funds to run their everyday lives under significant physical and emotional pressure at home and at work. We have therefore worked with a number of partners across the industry to develop exclusive products and solutions that will benefit those vital people who have kept the country running.
And of course, with the rise in COVID-related scams, we launched ClearScore Protect, offering free dark web monitoring so users can see if their stolen passwords have been found on the dark web and take action. We hope that this will help millions of people avoid falling victim to fraud and give additional peace of mind about the security of their personal information online.
Why we entered the award
We entered the Queens Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category as innovation is really at the heart of everything that we do. We constantly strive to develop new, innovative tech solutions to help our users along the path to financial well-being. Indeed the COVID pandemic has demonstrated the ways in which our innovations help users with the launch of initiatives like the COVID hub and Credit for Key Workers. This award is very much for them.
This award is also massive celebration of the team behind the Innovation. Even though we are in lockdown, winning the award brought about a sense of camaraderie and pride. Indeed this award is testament to the hard work, passion and drive of every single person in the ClearScore team, and we hold this award with pride.
We’d strongly encourage future applicants to highlight the value of their innovation to the communities that they serve. At a time when so many individuals are struggling with the COVID pandemic, it’s important to remember that there are so many organisations in the UK that seek to help others through difficult times.