Giving people with mental health problems equal access to vital services

Katie Alpin, Head of Research and Policy, and Merlyn Holkar, Senior Research Officer

Data protecting

Using financial data to support customers

22 October 2019

This report explores how banks and building societies could use customers’ financial data to identify and support people at risk of financial difficulty. In particular, it examines:

  • Consumer appetite for financial firms to use their financial data in this way, and concerns they may have (for example, around privacy and safety).
  • The practical and ethical challenges that firms face in using data to identify and support people at risk, and best practice principles they could consider to overcome these challenges.
  • Steps that policy-makers and regulators can take to support firms in using data in this way. 

Key recommendations:

  • To protect privacy, banks and building societies should give customers choice and control over how (and whether) their data is used to identify when they are at risk of financial difficulty. This should include allowing customers the option to opt-out altogether.
  • Banks should involve customers in building interventions, to ensure that they strike the right balance between being effective and unintrusive.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority and Information Commissioner’s Office should publish joint guidance for firms on how they can use customer data in this way without contravening financial or data regulations.