UK fintech community comes together to build Covid Credit and let sole traders self-certify lost income

TechCrunch | Steve O'Hear | March 24, 2020

covid credit app - UK fintech community comes together to build Covid Credit and let sole traders self-certify lost incomeIt all started with a tweet from 11:FS co-founder Simon Taylor. If the U.K. government could be persuaded to provide financial support to the self-employed during the Coronavirus crisis, as it has already pledged for full-time employees, then Open Banking technology could be used to self-certify lost income, and therefore overcome one of the main hurdles of administering potential compensation.

The founders of two other London-based fintechs, Fronted and Credit Kudos, were first to accept the challenge, and soon they were joined by dozens of other volunteers from the wider U.K. fintech community with the aim of turning around a working prototype of “Covid Credit” in just 48 hours.

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“Like many, we saw a challenge for non-salaried workers who are currently ineligible for government relief,” says Fronted’s Jamie Campbell. “By using Open Banking, we have been able to quickly develop a simple process that allows non-salaried workers to generate a proof statement which details their past income and the impact of COVID-19”.

The Covid Credit team’s hypothesis is that evidencing and validating the income of a sole trader is significantly harder than a salaried worker, and that there was an opportunity to use Open Banking (via Credit Kudos’ existing API) to quickly access and analyse data from the bank accounts of a sole trader and generate a validated income statement, something Campbell frames as a “Covid Credit ‘minted’ self-certification”.

“Using the application, applicants answer a few simple questions relating to their legal status and the impact of COVID-19 on their income,” he explains. “The application processes this information and creates a unique link that (in time) can be shared with the appropriate government body in order to prove loss of income.”

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