Affordable Credit Challenge

The Affordable Credit Challenge supports partnerships between UK community lenders and fintechs developing innovative technological solutions that will increase access to affordable, responsible credit. The Challenge is backed by HM Treasury and delivered by Nesta Challenges.

Development grants of between £125,000 to £150,000 will be awarded to up to six community lender/fintech partnerships in November 2019. From these, three winning partnerships will each receive cash prizes of at least £200,000 in Spring 2020.

The application window is now open and will remain open until 8am BST on 30 September 2019. Visit the Apply page for more information about how to apply to the Challenge or sign up to receive regular updates.

Infographic of the challenge timeline

About the Challenge

Most of us rely on borrowing of one form or another, whether loans, credit card debt or mortgages. But the inability to access fair and affordable credit is a challenge faced by millions of people across the UK. For instance, over 8 million people use credit to pay for everyday household expenses.

“The UK’s Fintechs are already helping individuals across the country to better manage their money and I want to see more people benefit from these services. The Affordable Credit Challenge is a vital opportunity for community lenders and fintechs to come together, utilise new technology, and give the most vulnerable members of society a level of control over their money that most of us take for granted.”  

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury 

Credit unions, CDFIs and other community lenders offer an affordable alternative to high cost credit, such as payday loans. They comprise a significant market, making over £1 billion worth of loans annually and serving almost 2 million people. However, they compete with high cost credit providers with more resources and better access to technology. This means they can struggle to reach and serve all those who could benefit from their services.

Meanwhile, the UK’s world class fintech sector continues to flourish, challenging traditional business models in banking, payments, personal investing and small business lending to better serve customers.

We believe a better personal lending market is possible – with affordable credit available to more of those who need it – through combining the values and reach of the community lending sector with the insights and capabilities of fintech businesses.


Get in Touch affordablecreditchallenge@nesta.org.uk

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