FCA approves financial capability app Tully to help the 20m people with money worries

By David Coghlan | Feb 26, 2019 |

At OpenWrks we’re focused on making Open Banking a force for good. Not just creating money management apps for hipsters or investment apps for the wealthy, but delivering real improvements in the financial lives of everybody.

As part of this mission, we’ve been working with a number of different businesses on a whole range of really interesting use cases, but one we’re particularly excited about is Tully. Tully is a brand new Fintech on a mission to improve financial capability and break down the barriers to financial support for people in debt. Tully came one step closer to making it’s vision a reality today with the announcement that it is now FCA licensed.

Olly Betts, OpenWrks CEO commented:
“As an FCA regulated business ourselves, we know how in-depth the FCA approval process can be. The pace that Tully has been licensed is both an endorsement of the business’s focus on consumer protection and robust governance and also indicates that the FCA believes there is a real need for these types of digital solutions in the debt advice sector.”

The timing of the license couldn’t be more appropriate as the average adult now owes £30,965 with around 75% of all UK citizens facing some form of debt and 50% experiencing stress symptoms and the accompanying physical and mental health impacts as a direct result. Compounding this is a growing capacity issue in the current debt advice sector.

This is the first time the FCA has issued a license for a digital debt advice service, with Tully designed to not only help improve financial capability but also make it easier for people to manage their money and repay their debts faster.

Stuart Bungay, CEO & Co-founder of Tully, commented:
“Our focus at Tully is to help people regain control of their money and move towards a more stable financial future. Receiving our FCA license is a huge milestone in allowing us to make that a reality.

“Since day one the FCA have been overwhelmingly supportive of our vision and understand the desperate need for the type of technology-driven solution we’re creating with Tully. Demand for debt advice continues to grow and we believe digital channels have a key role to play in helping improve access to the debt advice and financial support millions of people need today.

Income smoothing for the 20m people with money worries
Tully is built on the OpenWrks Open Banking platform which includes our consent management, account aggregation and full data categorisation. But Open Banking on its own doesn’t provide the full picture of someone's finances, so Tully is also pioneering the use of our AI powered income and expenditure tool. Using conversational AI we serve Tully customers the questions required to fill the gaps that exist if you simply rely on open banking, building a budget they believe in, without adding friction for the customer. This approach to income and expenditure (I&E) is proving to be up to £350 per month in disposable income more accurate than traditional, manual I&E processes. Giving customers an accurate, realistic and hyper personalised budget in minutes online.

These new digital budgets are the backbone of Tully’s service, allowing them to provide debt advice which is fully reflective of customers’ real lives, rather than relying on customer estimates or out of date credit bureau data. We’re also providing more than just a snapshot in time. Thanks to OpenWrks’ Open Banking connection, Tully can adjust their customer’s affordability dynamically as their lives change. So for the increasing number of people who have variable income or for someone who suffers an unexpected financial shock they can have their affordability and debt repayments updated to reflect these circumstances.

This is a world first and Tully calls it a Flexi-Plan.

For anyone in a debt repayment plan today, they have simply traded fixed monthly costs from their lenders for lower but still fixed monthly costs to a debt management business. Obviously this means that it will take longer to pay back debts, it could include additional charges but more importantly, fixed payments are becoming less sustainable.

16m households in the UK have less than £100 in savings and with consumer debt at levels not seen since 2007 general resilience to financial shocks are massively reduced. Tully’s Flexi-Plan means that if a customer has a bad month, for example, if the car breaks down and they would struggle to make their agreed regular payment; Tully can use their updated budget to adjust that monthly payment to a number that is affordable. It means the people who are most financially precarious can avoid taking on even more short term debt to cover these shocks or in extreme circumstances not have to make a decision about whether to pay back debts or put food on the table or heat their home.

This radical shift in how Open Banking can support huge numbers of people is why we’re so excited!

Olly Betts continued “I’m truly excited by the positive impact Tully will have for tens of millions of people in the UK and I’m proud that our business has been so instrumental in making it a reality. For me, this is the first day that Open Banking is beginning to deliver on its promise."

For more on our AI powered income and expenditure, contact us for a demo

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