Laura Sharman 21 May 2015

Study highlights extent of digital exclusion

Study highlights extent of digital exclusion image

More than three million social housing tenants are unable to access online deals and rates due to a lack of credit history and internet access, according to the findings of a new report.

The Social Housing Tenants study from Experian found that one third of social housing tenants do not have access to the internet at home, with 14% saying they are never able to get online.

The study also revealed that 61% do not have enough of a credit history for financial or credit providers to verify their identities electronically so they are unable to secure the best online rates, if they can access the product at all.

Experian and Big Issue Invest have now launched the Rental Exchange to allow social housing landlords to submit their tenants’ rent payment history. This will allow 84% of social housing tenants to have a strong enough credit history to validate their identity.

Jonathan Westley, managing director of Experian’s UK&I Consumer Information Services, said; ‘The digital authentication rate amongst social housing tenants is less than half of that of the wider population, and this group suffers financially as a consequence. If an online provider cannot fully authenticate a person, they either price their product based on a high level of risk, making the service more expensive, or simply refuse it.

‘However, using rental data as part of the electronic authentication process improves the level of insight available for providers and means that fewer tenants are excluded from or pay a higher rate for products.’

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