It’s good to talk, as Bob Hoskins famously said in the TV advert.
And this week (16 – 22 March 2020) National Conversation Week wants us all to talk about the ‘M’ word – money.
Worryingly a survey of 1000 people in the UK commissioned by National Conversation Week found that almost 40% of people say that finance worries them more than anything else in their lives.
But, only half of the same people said they would seek professional financial advice.
That’s why the aim of National Conversation Week is to get us all talking more about our finances and improving our financial knowledge.
Financial inclusion matters too
National Conversation Week is also a great time to talk about financial inclusion and what that means.
Financial inclusion essentially means making sure banking and financial websites, apps, products, services and information about money is accessible to everyone.
Around one in five people in the UK have a disability and ensuring they can access financial products and services both physically and digitally is critical.
Not only is it a legal requirement of The Equality Act 2010, evidence shows that getting it wrong costs businesses of all kinds in the UK over £17 billion per year in lost sales.
Credit where it’s due, UK high-street banking giants like Barclays, HSBC, and Lloyds have done great work to ensure their digital products, services and information are accessible to all customers.
But there is still much more work to be done in the wider banking and financial sectors in the UK to ensure all digital products and services are accessible for people with disabilities.
Auriga Services changing lives
Auriga Services is an organisation that understands how important it is to make financial services accessible to everyone.
Auriga Services supports people to come out of debt and rebuild their lives by managing the charitable trust funds for Severn Trent Water, United Utilities, Thames Water and others including British Gas.
Auriga has helped 1.9 million people to reduce their financial hardship by working closely with their clients to meet the main objective of ‘Changing Lives Every Day’.
Many of Auriga Services’ customers may be overwhelmed with their financial situation and they need to be able to access the financial support that is available to them.
Supporting customers with digital access needs
In order to make the Auriga Services website accessible for people with access needs, they installed the Recite Me’s assistive toolbar, to enable all visitors to customise it in a way that works for them.
This can be changing the page style to customize the colour and size of text, links and backgrounds, or using the reading aids to speak aloud content and mask distractions on the screen.
People who speak English as a second language benefit from the real-time translation feature, which can translate content into over 100 languages, including 35 text to speech voices.
These features allow a large number of customers in vulnerable circumstances to seek the financial support they need easily, without any hassle or stress.
So on National Conversation Week please think and talk about digital inclusion as well as financial knowledge, because being able to access money and information online is as important as understanding what to do with it.