Consumer guardian Technophobia launches


The new completely independent website was commissioned following the recent investigation by the Competition Commission into the Home Credit market. The website is part of a package of measures designed to open up the market to greater competition and provide more choice to consumers.

The site helps consumers choose between loans by showing which lenders provide home credit in a local area and how much they charge. The website also includes information on loans provided by some credit unions. Customers who wish to compare Home Credit loans can type in their postcode and the website will show loans available in their area. Customers can compare different loan amounts and different durations of loan.

All lenders that provide a significant amount of home credit are obliged to publish their loans on the new website. Credit Unions and certain other providers of small loans do not have to be included but many are choosing to use this opportunity to show how their loans compare with those offered by commercial lenders.

The website is overseen by a governance board that includes representatives of the Office of Fair Trading, the National Consumer Council, ABCUL (Association of British Credit Unions Ltd) and the home credit industry.

Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas said: "This website will help people to save money and get a good deal. Consumers will be able to shop around for loans from Home Credit providers and local Credit Unions that best meet their needs."

Adam Land, Director of Remedies and Business Analysis at the Competition Commission, said: ’This website is a vital component of the package of remedies put in place following our market investigation. Along with other measures, such as data sharing, we expect that our remedy package will open up the market to greater competition, so that customers get more choice and lower prices. I have been impressed by the way in which the home credit industry has worked with other stakeholders to deliver this project.’

Technophobia designed and built the user-focused site from concept through to delivery and has an ongoing and active role responsible for service delivery for the next five years.

Upon Technophobia’s commission Simon Withers, Director of Contracts & Procurement Services at Hedra (a Mouchel Group Company), said ‘Technophobia were the unanimous choice of the evaluation panel, who looked not just at the standard criteria of price and technical capability but also for an innovative approach and a real understanding of the objectives of this project, the financial sector and particularly the needs of home credit customers’.

Listen to the R4 Moneybox programme review of the Lenderscompared website or view the transcript of the programme.

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