How Experian is helping the UK economy through the Coronavirus pandemic

By Jonathan Westley

 

The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way we all lead our lives. As we deal with new ways of remote working, juggle family commitments, and quite naturally, worry about the health and wellbeing of our families and loved ones, these are unprecedented times for all of us.

In these moments of crisis, the public will look to large organisations like ours, to do the right thing. Experian has an important role to play in helping everyone through these uncertain times. We recognise the significance of the role we play in the UK economy and we are committed to ensuring that our data services are being used to help, protecting vulnerable people, businesses and communities.

Our priorities centre around the health, well-being and safety of our employees, the financial health of consumers we serve, and the accuracy and integrity of the data we provide to our clients.

It’s a dynamic and fluid situation, but we’ve tried to react quickly with positive action which can be outlined as follows:

  • Working with the other Credit Reference Agencies, we agreed the introduction of a special measure, an emergency payment freeze, which will mean those who have agreed a payment holiday with their lender have their credit scores protected
  • We’ve joined other businesses across the UK in signing-up to the C-19 Business Pledge, which promises support for employees, businesses and communities across the country not just during the outbreak but in the recovery as well
  • Our Open Banking Affordability Passport, which gives organisations a more complete picture of someone’s financial circumstances quickly and can help identify those who maybe become vulnerable because of a change in circumstances, has been made available for free
  • Values, Money and Me, our financial education tool, is now available to every parent in the UK and Ireland to help them with home schooling
  • With our data and analytics expertise, we’re supporting local authorities and other organisations to identify vulnerable people in their communities and help them consider how best to allocate resources in their response planning

Of course, there’s much more to be done. Recovering from this period of upheaval will be a long process and all businesses have a responsibility to act and help at time when people need it most. As an industry, it has been encouraging to work with the other CRAs closely and effectively to protect people’s credit scores, however we must remain vigilant.

We’re also in regular contact with both the UK government and our partners across industries about the trends and changes we are seeing in the economy, providing consultation and support about how best they can target help to those who need it most.

People worried about their finances and how best to manage them can find out more information about what they can do by reading our consumer guide or looking at our general coronavirus support page. It is being updated regularly to reflect any ongoing change we see.

It’s an unprecedented time, but our teams around the world are working with great commitment to ensure we are doing all we can. You can keep up to date with the latest steps we are taking across all our global markets on our PLC website.

We will be constantly reviewing our approach to the crisis as it unfolds, making sure we respond to new events as they develop and considering new ways in how we can support everyone through these hugely challenging times.


Jonathan Westley is Experian’s Chief Data Officer for the UKI & EMEA