In line with our purpose, and in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty, we help to put people on a path to a better everyday life by addressing the key barriers to financial inclusion. We also invest in activities and initiatives that address key factors which may affect someone’s likelihood of being accepted for credit by supporting organisations like IncomeMax - We’ve been working with IncomeMax since 2015 to support Vanquis customers who are experiencing financial difficulties by providing them with independent personal welfare advice that helps them take control of their finances.
IncomeMax, are a community interest company that helps people, some of whom are experiencing financial difficulties, to maximise their household income and help them to take control of their finances. It’s through the relationship that we have with IncomeMax that Vanquis Bank customers can get independent personal money information to help them take control of their finances and help them reduce their household bills and increase their income.
Who are IncomeMax?
IncomeMax approach life events, debt, money management and support people differently. They know that for some people, sometimes, it feels like no one wants to help or has an answer.
Their vision is to bring income maximisation to every vulnerable customer or low income family in the UK. They take proven and personal methodologies and couple this with their caring nature to get the right financial support available to the British people. Whether it’s social welfare, utility or financial services, IncomeMax’s goal is to improve mental and financial health:
- 94% of their customers find the benefits advice element of their service helpful and they identify millions of pounds of missing income each year.
- They’ve managed to find £30 million of extra income found for their customers since 2009, helping 79,863 people with their finances.
- They’ve made over 500,000 phone calls to be able to do this, helping get the right money back to customers.
- IncomeMax work with individuals to identify ways to increase their income, reduce bills and deal with any problem debts. They also help people to overcome tricky obstacles like phone calls to government departments, claim forms and incorrect benefit decisions
- Once customers have been referred, IncomeMax help teach them what resources are available, and they help every step of the way.
How we work with IncomeMax
Our customer-facing colleagues in Vanquis are trained and equipped with the skills they need to support our customers throughout their journeys with us. So where appropriate, our Vanquis colleagues will put customers in touch with IncomeMax.
Once we’ve referred a customer to IncomeMax, they’re provided with independent personal money advice. IncomeMax will complete a confidential financial assessment with the customer, to understand their current circumstances, and make sure that they aren’t missing out on any state benefits or tax credits to help them to take control of their finances.
By supporting these organisations, our customers can also access free independent and personal financial advice and support if they are struggling financially.
Since our relationship began, IncomeMax have identified £1.2 million of extra income for our Vanquis customers who have been struggling to make ends meet, and this has made a significant differences to many customer’s financial situations.
During 2021, the credit card division has invested further in IncomeMax, working closely with it to support its digital proposition development. Recognising that customers’ digital capacity is evolving and that a growing number may now prefer to engage digitally, this will provide even better access to specialist advice. By providing funding to cover core costs, the new platform will benefit Vanquis and non-Vanquis customers, improving access for a wider community of individuals who may be facing financial difficulties.
The digital platform is planned for launch in 2022. Currently, we're also working on making additional resources available to customers through access to the IncomeMax telephone referral service as well as online tools which we will be launching in partnership in early 2022.
The program has been such a success, PFG are looking to expand this relationship across other parts of our business to better improve more of our customer’s financial and mental health.
One of our customers had recently graduated from University and was working part time. She was keen to get another role, however she was suffering with depression which was making life tough.
She had an outdated computer with very old software; and this was adding to the difficulties of trying to apply for jobs. Due to COVID restrictions at the time, libraries were shut and so she was unable to access any other IT resources to start her search.
After being put in touch with IncomeMax, she was advised her to apply for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) due to her depression. As a result, she was awarded the daily living component, unlocking an additional £3,104 a year.
It was then suggested that the Smallwood Trust (a charity for women in financial need) might be able to help towards getting some new software for her computer. And after applying, she was awarded a £900 grant.
Our customer used this to get a new computer, which she used to write her CV and apply for jobs. Since then, she’s successfully secured an internship in Recruitment which she says has helped to turn her life around.