Today we have Justin Basini from ClearScore answering our questions.
ClearScore has risen quickly to become the UK’s number one credit checking service.
Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
Justin Basini, CEO of ClearScore
After starting my career in marketing at P&G, I moved into financial services at Deutsche Bank and Capital One, where I was VP for Marketing & Brand in Europe. After leaving Capital One I started Allow, which was the world’s first personal data brokerage. We exited Allow in early 2013. I started ClearScore to disrupt the expensive and confusing credit scoring industry. The rapidly-growing and hugely talented team at ClearScore is really flying and less than two years since launch we have over 90 staff, almost 4 million users and now we’re planning for international expansion.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
As CEO and co-founder at ClearScore my role is varied and far-reaching from the strategic direction of the business, the design of the product, through to making the most of the potential in the team. However, to grow as quickly as we currently are, it’s important to have more than one leader in a business. I have an excellent senior leadership team who were all hired to push me as hard as I push them.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
When ClearScore launched in July 2015, we became the first UK business to offer people completely free access to their credit score and report. By the end of 2015, we’d acquired 500,000 customers, and had launched chart-topping iOS and Android apps.
In 2016, the innovations continued with additional features such as a Timeline view of your financial history and world-first chatbot Coaching programmes that aim to help our users achieve greater financial wellbeing through interactive financial education.
By providing valuable information in a beautiful, transparent way, ClearScore has acquired nearly 4 million customers, making it the UK’s number one credit checking service.
Tell us how you are funded.
We are privately backed by QED Investors and Blenheim Chalcot.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
ClearScore was born from a frustration that it was difficult, and often expensive, to access something as important as your credit score and report. It’s your data after all, and it should be working for you, rather than against you.
The credit score market was dominated by three credit referencing agencies: Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. Typically, a consumer would pay £14.99/month for regular access to their report, meaning very few people kept regular tabs on this aspect of their finances, and an estimated 32 million UK adults had never checked their credit score.
I launched the business to allow every adult in the UK to sign up and see their credit score and report for free within a few minutes. By designing the experience to be beautiful, simple and transparent, we aimed to create a product unlike anything else in the financial services industry.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
ClearScore is for anyone who wants to get their money sorted. Almost all adults are impacted by their credit score, so we’re proud to have raised awareness for so many people already.
As for revenue, we are able to offer our service for free by offering a number of products like credit cards and loans that can be personalised for each customer’s individual needs. Because we know about their financial history, we are able to predict their future needs and take the guess work out of choosing a good value financial product.
With each product we sell, we earn a commission from the lender, and this helps us to fund the business and keep our core proposition free, forever.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
The major financial institutions have a massive advantage because of the data that they hold on their customers. This allows them to predict behaviour and risk better than smaller and newer players. We are in complete agreement with the regulator that there needs to be radically more competition and less concentration risk in the UK market.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
I hope that the regulator is successful in encouraging the larger players to opening up banking data, using permission to share these data broadly across the industry. I would encourage the leaders of the larger players to see this as much as an opportunity as a threat. The opportunity is to systemically promote more competition, fairer outcomes for consumers and more switching. This will benefit those large players that create good products and service them well. PSD2 and Opening Banking need to be fully embraced by the banking industy.
What phone are you carrying and why?
iPhone 7 in Jet Black. Because it is a truly beautiful device.
Where do you get your industry news from?
Financial Times, Business Insider.
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
I have been using Monzo for a while now and it is brilliantly executed. I really admire what they have done.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
My thesis on the market for financial services is that there will be an increasing delination between the manufacturing of financial services and the retailing of financial services.
I think large banks and insurers will become manufacturers with the core competency of risk and capital management. Newer players like ClearScore will prove expert in the retailing of financial products building of understanding and predicting consumer needs and ensuring that the right product gets to the right person at the right time.
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