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Maysam Rizvi FRSA argues for the power of technology to do good, highlighting how his own app, Elfinity, has been helping to address the needs of financially vulnerable people.

50% of the UK population are financially vulnerable.

Banks and existing financial apps are designed for the well-off, but not designed to support the group who are struggling with high debt load, high cost credit (such as payday loans) and constrained access to the banking market. However, with new regulations such as Open Banking and advances in technology, the money app Elifinty is designed to solve this.

Financially Vulnerable

A major misunderstanding is that a financially vulnerable person is a poor person. While this may be true, a financially vulnerable person is more accurately described as someone who might be impacted by a financial event with no mechanism to deal with it. This includes nurses, students, postmen, teachers – anyone living paycheck to paycheck.

Banks and subprime lenders both have motivations which are fundamentally misaligned with their clients when it comes to debts. A sad fact of the matter is: to a payday lender or a bank, a person is a number. A big bank wants to get an “underperforming” customer out of their balance sheet, and a payday lender wants to get a cash-cow at high interest onto theirs. Banks want people who can comfortably pay, and short-term lenders want people who have no choice but to pay them.

Charities and Credit Unions

The UK already has a well-developed network of charities and credit unions that help people who are financially vulnerable. There’s a big range of charities who help with income support, debt management and other challenges. However, they often reach people too late and are limited by funding.  Credit unions offer reasonable rates but are only helping 4.8% of the financially vulnerable population.

Elfinity as a solution?

Elifinty was developed to address this shortfall and aims to solve the issue of financial literacy for the financially vulnerable.

Elifinty is a 'technology for good' business, directed towards significantly improving the financial well-being of its users. The aim is to turn at-risk individuals into healthy members of the economy. In recent months, we have been selected as a Vodafone Techstarter Top 50 and as a Finalist for the UKBAA Women-led Investment Award.

Using artificial intelligence, the app predicts users’ financial challenges and then applies its advanced algorithm to identify appropriate financial solutions which could be commercial, social or charitable. It also uses advanced data analytics and behaviour management tools including gamification to encourage those individuals to focus on improving their finances in the future.

Elifinty has established partnerships with charities, credit unions and banks to reach its target market and create a win-win situation for all. The app is free for users, but partners pay a fee. We have existing contracts with two partner charities in London and will be scaling up with their members.

Further growth and reach

Elifinty has launched Version 1.0 and now has plans to enhance the platform and fund its continued growth in the UK market. We are inviting investors who care about society and doing good and who want to be part of a profitable business which is self-sustaining and help improve the lives of millions.

Elifinty Founder & CEO Maysam Rizvi has consistently driven innovation and change throughout two decades in banking. His last role as Head of Change for Global Trade & Loans at J.P. Morgan, saw him tackle some of the biggest challenges in banking. Maysam is a Financial Health Fellow (2017) of the Financial Innovation Lab, a fellow of the RSA and holds an MBA. He a Board Trustee of Toynbee Hall and a Non-Exec Director of Spendable.

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