Toucan “first” to test bank account alert to help mental health sufferers
Money manager and financial inclusion champion Toucan is “the first in the financial services industry” to test a third-party money alert designed to help those suffering from mental health disorders in the UK. The feature will notify a nominated family member or loved one when an unusual purchase is made.
The product came to ideation after Toucan found 96% of those suffering from a mental health disorder in the UK would find it useful if a nominated family member received alerts on their spending when they go through bouts of feeling “unwell”. A further 89% said this feature would be handy all year round.
With the help of charity Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Northumbria University and UK bank Nationwide’s Open Banking for Good programme, Toucan surveyed 235 people living with mental health conditions across the UK to understand how they think about money.
The six month research project showed that “a family member or friend receiving spending alerts helped users reduce risk and develop better financial habits”, such as spending less online and checking their bank account more often.
The all-female-led Toucan also found that 29% of those they surveyed are “using risky workarounds” to get support on money management, such as sharing their PIN and card or letting someone log into their online banking account.
“It’s been great to see the positive impact that third party money alerts can have in improving financial habits and wellbeing,” says Toucan co-founder and CEO Bailey Kursar.
“We believe technology, coupled with support from a loved one or friend, is a solution to this challenge,” adds Kursar.
So far 14 pilot testers have experienced the alert. The tests have found the alert helps mental health sufferers create realistic budgets and avoid online overspending.
“Alerts also helped users open up more about their money troubles and mental health to their nominated family and friends, lowering feelings of anxiety and shame,” the company says in a statement.