Universal Credit or Universal Confusion?

The Universal Credit benefits system is under review… again

The Guardian recently reported that Universal Credit, the government’s flagship benefit reform initiative is to undergo yet another series of assessments, reviews and changes.
There’s uncertainty over what the new benefits system will look like
The fact is no-one can give a clear definition of what shape the benefits system will take over the coming months. A watered down version of the Universal Credit system has been running in selected towns for over 12 months now. The national roll-out was due to start last October but there are only 2,150 people in the country receiving the new benefit according to the Guardian report.

What is Universal Credit trying to achieve?

The general principle of Universal Credit – simplifying the benefits system and ensuring people are better off in work – is in theory the right thing to do. However, it’s the system of payments, and the need for comprehensive financial inclusion and banking facilities (online access, mobile access and ongoing money management support) for everyone that are a significant factor in its failure.
The Universal Credit system change is beginning to look messy, however, there are two things we can be sure of:

1) those who rely on benefits will need to undergo significant changes in the way they manage their money

2) organisations who rely on their clients/tenants/members receiving DWP payments to pay rent (like Housing Associations) or repay loans (like Credit Unions) are at serious risk of arrears as the ramifications of the Universal Credit change are realised.

What can we do for your members and tenants 

credEcardplus is seen as the answer to rent arrears and financial exclusion by around 100 credit unions and numerous housing associations in the UK.

How we support Credit Unions and Housing Associations with Financial Inclusion

Regardless of credit history, each customer is provided with a personal online account with a UK sort code and account number, allowing them to receive benefits, wages and other income, and to pay bills, shop, save money and manage their account.

The built-in Envelope money management tool allows users to easily ring-fence essential funds so they never miss a bill payment (useful not only to the cardholder, but will also guarantee housing associations, credit unions and other organisations will be paid on time without fail), a free mobile phone app means cardholders get up-to-the-minute information on what payments have been received, what bills have been paid and what disposable income is available to spend. The rewards facility means all cardholders receive up to 15% cash-back on weekly shopping purchases (rewards for members of a referring organisation). All this is available for as little as 36p per week.

In short, regardless of whatever re-assessments, reviews and re-introductions take place at government level, the answer to issues caused by the introduction of Universal Credit is already available in the credEcard programme… and with almost 30,000 users in the UK to date, credEcard is fast becoming the Universal Credit’s universal solution.

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