UK Fintech News Round-up: The Latest Stories 15/12

Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the latest stories from UK fintech. This week,  the UK holds the second-highest level of cryptocurrency awareness in Europe and new research reveals a huge age discrepancy in credit score attitudes.

Majority of the public expect banks to pay out for rising scam attempts


CybersecurityAkamai Technologies has found that nearly four in five UK adults surveyed (78%) use online banking services at least once per week, and over half (58%) of those who bank online reported receiving scam attempts via email or SMS text message at least once per week. This is translating to successful cyberattacks: 23% of respondents said they had been a victim of a cyberattack.

Despite nearly a quarter having fallen victim to cyberattacks, the majority report already practising cybersecurity fundamentals, with 59% of UK respondents reporting they do not use the same password for any online services. The vast majority (86%) are also confident in their banks’ ability to protect them from cybercriminals. However, if they do fall victim to a cyberattack or financial fraud, most (67%) would expect their bank to foot the bill in its entirety, no matter how much money was lost. 17% would also expect additional financial compensation for the inconvenience and 18% would want a personal apology.

Richard Meeus, Director of Security Technology and Strategy EMEA at Akamai, said: “Rising rates of cybercrime mean rising costs for banks as they reimburse their customers en masse. Banks need to work with governments and industry to share effective strategies, educate the public on important preventative measures, and implement security models that ensure maximum protection – and retain customers.”

Cyber fears as HMRC declares 17 serious data breaches

Cybersecurity Payments

Cybersecurity PaymentsHMRC has reported a total of 17 serious data breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) over a 15 month period, from January 2020 to March 2021. The data, analysed by niche litigation practice Griffin Law, was revealed in HMRC’s recently published Annual Report and Accounts.

According to the report, a total of 3,017 people were potentially affected by personal data-related incidents. In the largest incident, 1,023 people were potentially impacted when a HMRC staffer used personal information to make changes to customer records on HMRC systems without authorisation. The most alarming infringement saw a HMRC employee caught accessing an internal system to locate his estranged wife and children, potentially affecting a total of 4 people.

HMRC stated in the report that they have learnt lessons from the incidents and are using them to review and strengthen their customer identity and authentication process.

Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian, commented: “The majority of today’s data breaches are caused by people. Why? Because people make mistakes, break the rules and can be hacked. As employees handle and control more data than ever before, organisations must take steps to protect data from incidents caused by people if they’re ever going to stop breaches.”

Earnr secures further £650,000 to launch its dedicated finance & tax app for self-employed

New startup earnr announced it has secured a further £650,000 investment to launch the first of its dedicated finance services for the self-employed – an automated finance & tax app to empower the 8 million creators and side hustlers across the UK to make a success of their small business.

earnr’s mission is to provide a hub of new, carefully tailored financial tools and services for those parts of the UK’s rapidly evolving self-employed market that are overlooked or poorly served by existing providers.

The first offering is a unique app specifically designed to help boost the fast-growing creator and side hustle sector – the growing number of ‘solo-prenuers’ – people running a side business alongside their main job, having to make sense of multiple incomes.

Enzo Ottens, co-founder and CEO of earnr said, “Many of us in the earnr team started our own side hustles during the UK’s many lockdowns and although doing this is getting easier than ever, finance and tax admin is always where complexity and the risk of expensive mistakes lurk.

“As earnr’s first launch, the new app paints a clear picture of our mission – to provide the financial tools people need to flourish as they explore new ways to earn a living and take control of their lives with new and different forms of self-employment.”

New research reveals a huge age discrepancy in credit score attitudes

New research from debt management company, Lowell reveals that the importance of credit scores to Brits across the UK varies widely across by age and location. The research highlighted an obvious age discrepancy around Brits’ attitudes towards credit scores and revealed that the older generation of Brits knows more about credit scores than the younger generation. 

Surprisingly, the research found that almost one-third (32%) of the 16–24-year-olds who know how to check their credit score, check it multiple times a month. According to the data, those aged 55 and over (15%) are most likely to check their credit score just once a month, as well as 35-44-year-olds (11%) and 25-34-year-olds (11%).

Despite the statistics showing that young people are more technically inclined to keep track of their score, people aged over 55 have a better understanding than young people of what affects their credit score. The research showed that almost three-quarters (72%) of Brits over 55 know that missed payments are a key reason as to why your score can be negatively impacted, in comparison to just over three in 10 (35%) of 16-24-year-olds.

New borrower wellbeing app, ilumoni, launches #GetDebtFit campaign 

Student Finance

Student FinanceFollowing the launch of the ilumoni app in September 2021, ilumoni is on a mission to help UK borrowers #BorrowWell through their new #GetDebtFit campaign that aims to take the pressure off one lucky winner’s festive season, whilst helping them keep it off in the New Year. 

The competition winner will receive a cash prize of £2,033, equivalent to the average UK household credit card debt, and a series of sessions with UK Money Blogger and Personal Finance Coach, Tolu Frimpong, to help them build healthy money habits in the New Year and beyond.

The borrower wellbeing app is encouraging the public to get involved in the free to enter competition by commenting on the announcement post with how they plan on getting debt fit in 2022, using the hashtag #GetDebtFit.

Co-Founder of ilumoni, Jonathan Corner said, “When we were thinking about the type of competition we wanted to run, it was really important to us that the prize helped someone change their relationship with money for the better, as well as being substantial enough to give them a boost this Christmas.

“That’s why we’re so pleased to be partnering with Tolu, who works with people across the UK to transform their mindsets and create positive financial change in their lives. We’re also really excited to hear how the UK plans to Get Debt Fit in the New Year and wanted to start that conversation early, helping people to think about it before the usual overindulgence at Christmas.”

Record investment and strong growth planned by small businesses

Two-thirds of small business leaders (63%) feel lonely in their role, which could prevent their company from reaching its full potential. Of 1,046 business leaders surveyed by Starling Bank, seven in ten (70%) say they find it hard to come up with new and innovative ideas on their own, and a similar number (68%) said they want more advice from their peers when it comes to running their business.

Despite these concerns, Britain’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have a positive outlook for 2022. More than two-thirds of those surveyed are confident for the year ahead (68%), with the average small business planning revenue growth of 11% next year.

Their ambitions are pinned on hard graft and new investment; more than three quarters (76%) are planning record financial investment in their companies, and a similar amount (73%) will devote more time to their business than ever before.1

Anne Boden, CEO and founder at Starling Bank said: “As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve experienced the pressures of spinning multiple plates – it’s a lot to take on when you’re also trying to drive your business forward. I was flying solo when I first started Starling Bank, so asking others for advice and learning from them was invaluable.”


Ethereum Bitcoin Cryptocurrency

Ethereum Bitcoin CryptocurrencyUK holds the second-highest level of cryptocurrency awareness in Europe

Coinbase has revealed that Brits hold the second-highest level of cryptocurrency awareness in Europe. In the UK, two-thirds of adults (66%) are familiar with the asset class; this awareness is second only to Spain, where 80% of consumers are familiar with digital currencies.

Using independent research firm Qualtrics, Coinbase surveyed over 8,000 consumers across major European markets in order to gain a better understanding of the attitudes and awareness of cryptocurrency across Europe. Whilst the UK lags behind Spain in terms of crypto awareness, it stands ahead of its peers: the Netherlands (64%), Germany (60%), Italy (58%) and France (56%).

Looking at how this translates into cryptocurrency ownership, currently, almost a third (29%) of UK consumers who are familiar with crypto either own or have owned cryptocurrencies in the past. The rate of ownership is much higher in the Netherlands and Spain, at 38% and 46% respectively.

Three in five tech businesses acknowledge they are ‘behind’ when it comes to engaging with DEI

New research by Thoughtworks, a global technology consultancy, has found that three in five tech businesses in the UK believe there is still a long way to go to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in their sector. Among the issues that need the most urgent attention were career development for minority groups, representation in senior posts and at board level, and allyship and understanding.

The Thoughtworks research found that 33% of those in the tech sector said their organisation either had no plans to address career development issues for minority groups or did not know where to start. Similarly, 22% felt the same for representation and 24% for allyship and understanding.

Amy Lynch, head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Thoughtworks UK, said: “Whether it is age, gender, or ethnic diversity, we have to be honest that the tech sector is out of balance. But we can change this. Change happens with positive action, effective policies, and hard work.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.